Political Candidates' Positions on Moral and Ethical Issues Rank High for Hispanic Catholics

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In a recent national survey conducted by the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, a majority of Hispanic Catholics polled stated that a candidate for public office should be chosen based upon their position on moral and ethical issues rather than upon their party affiliation.

In this political season, the swing vote--better defined as the undecided--is playing an increasingly critical role in national politics. Traditionally, the Catholic vote has been the largest swing vote in elections in the United States. A recent national survey conducted by the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) reveals that 87.1% of the Hispanic Catholics responding stated that it was more important to consider a candidate’s position on moral and ethical issues above the candidate’s partisan allegiances. “Candidates for public office would be wise to gain an understanding of the priorities of Hispanics – including Hispanic Catholics,” says Robert Aguirre, CALL president.

The country’s largest minority group is rapidly growing in economic status and as a major contributor to the fabric of our nation. In 2004, Hispanics comprised 15% of the U.S. population. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about 64% of Hispanic registered voters identify themselves as Catholic.

The recent national survey conducted by CALL posed a variety of ranking questions dealing with a wide range of public policy issues. The survey asked whether or not a candidate for public office should be chosen based upon their political party or their position on moral and ethical issues.

The top five issues ranked by respondents as most important to them personally were:

  • Abortion
  • Protection of Marriage (tied for second)
  • Quality of K-12 Education (tied for second)
  • Providing for the Poor (tied for fourth)
  • Equal Access to Education (tied for fourth)
  • Immigration Reform

When asked if CALL should speak out publicly on issues important to Hispanic communities and the country, 92% of the respondents said yes.

According to Aguirre, the survey results “tell us first and foremost what the personal priorities are among Hispanic Catholics surveyed. Secondly, it tells us that today people are increasingly intent on voting in accordance with those priorities as opposed to supporting a political ideology. This is extremely meaningful data,” he said.

“Today, more than ever, the Hispanic community has a vested interest in the future of America, and the growing influence of their voice has the power to change outcomes,” Aguirre added.

CALL (Catholic Association of Latino Leaders) is a national organization comprised of lay people dedicated to promoting the common good. Established on the premise that it is the particular vocation of the laity to transform the world through “faithful citizenship,” CALL members do so by finding new and culturally relevant ways to preserve and promote the values of their faith--especially within the historical context that Hispanics were the first American Catholics. Internally, CALL provides a forum for members to strengthen their faith in community through prayer, education and service. Externally, CALL provides programs, services and events for the benefit of their faith, the community and the country. CALL has chapters established in Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Miami, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and San Antonio with new groups currently under formation in New York and Washington, DC.

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