- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Hispanics generally tend to favor Democratic views on economic issues and Republican views on social issues, but the Hispanic community is not monolithic, a recent study finds.

For instance, those from the Caribbean or Central America feel the strongest of all Hispanic groups that abortion should be banned. And while more Hispanics said they were Democrat than Republican, a majority of Cuban immigrants identified themselves as Republicans.

These and other findings on the Hispanic community were released yesterday by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, based on the National Annenberg Election Survey of 2000, the largest academic election poll ever conducted. It surveyed 79,000 people, including 4,676 Hispanics.

Although the survey was taken in 2000, the results remain relevant, Annenberg officials say.

“These findings … can be considered basically reliable measures of current Hispanic attitudes because these subjects are more general than those that were asked about particular candidates or issues in 2000, and no dramatic events have intervened that would alter attitude,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the center and an author of the survey.

Hispanics sided with Democrats on the government’s economic role. The survey found 48 percent of the general public said the federal government should actively try to reduce income differences among Americans, while 48 percent said it should not. But 59 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of all Hispanics and 77 percent of Hispanics from the Caribbean held that view.

On social issues like abortion, Hispanics favored or exceeded Republican views, according to the survey. Thirty-seven percent of Hispanics said the government should ban all abortions, a view held by 31 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of all Americans, according to the survey. Caribbean and Central American Hispanics felt the strongest on this issue, the poll found, with 51 percent of Caribbean Hispanics and 49 percent of Central American Hispanics favoring a ban on abortion.

Fifty-eight percent of Hispanics, and a full 71 percent of Caribbean Hispanics, favor the government providing parents with private-school vouchers. In comparison, 54 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats favor this, the survey finds.

At the same time, the survey finds 80 percent of Hispanics favor more government spending on public schools — a position favored by 77 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans.

Thirty-one percent of Americans surveyed during the course of the 2000 campaign said they were Democrats and 28 percent said they were Republicans, the poll found. Among Hispanics, 37 percent said they were Democrats and 18 percent said they were Republicans, the survey found. Cuban-Americans were the Hispanic group that bucked that trend, with 39 percent identifying themselves as Republicans.

Republican pollster Raul Damas, director of operations at Latino Opinions, explained that Cuban Americans “have long identified with the strong anticommunism of the Republican Party.”

Mr. Damas also was not surprised by the strong show of support for the conservative issues, like abortion, in the Annenberg poll. “These are social conservatives ” he said of Hispanics.

He disputed the general finding that Hispanics tend to side with Democrats on economic issues, however. He said on specific policies, Hispanics favor lower taxes and less regulations.

“When it comes to specific policy issues and questions, Hispanics are consistently pro-business, pro-competition and antiregulation,” he said.

He pointed to a poll he conducted last month, in which 53 percent of Hispanics said the best way to help the economy is to lower taxes on families and businesses, as opposed to increasing government spending.

And he explained that Hispanics favor both increased public-education funding and private-school vouchers — two very different policies — because they are “horribly underserved” by the current education system and are looking for any form of help to improve education.

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