Hispanics Actually Don’t Share Republican ‘Faith and Family’ Values

Jill Lawrence, Yahoo! News, April 26, 2013

New Republican research on the GOP and Hispanics gives the party reason for hope that it can climb out of the political hole it is in with these voters. But there’s some bad news mixed in with the good, laid out in a Public Opinion Strategies memo about two lengthy focus groups of Hispanic voters this month in Las Vegas.

The most surprising findings involve social and cultural issues. Conservatives may assume they have the franchise on “faith and family” and all that label signifies, but Hispanics don’t see it that way.

Polls show that Hispanics really do line up more with Republicans on gay marriage and abortion, as the GOP claims when it talks of Hispanics as Republicans in waiting or Republicans who just don’t realize it yet. But “by a rather staggering margin,” POS partner Nicole McCleskey writes in the memo, Hispanics say they are much more likely to agree with the Democratic approach to social and cultural issues.

How can that be? The POS focus groups suggested that while Republicans interpret “social and cultural issues” primarily to mean gay rights and gay marriage, for Hispanics the phrase has to do with justice, fairness, and respect for “cultural differences.” “It’s no wonder Hispanic voters are perplexed when Republicans insist we share the same values,” McCleskey writes. They are also perplexed when asked if the GOP is more likely to share their values of faith and family, she says, “because they do not see either party as having cornered the market on faith and family.”

McCleskey said in an interview that Republicans and Hispanics “talk past each other” on social and cultural issues, particularly when it comes to the phrase “faith and family.” “I don’t know if they hear what is intended, which is that we share similar positions on the value of the traditional family,” she said. “It’s kind of a code and they haven’t gotten the decoder ring.” She said she doesn’t have the answer yet for how the GOP should proceed, and intends her work to be a conversation-starter.


{snip} The overriding perceptions among Hispanics, according to McCleskey’s memo, are that “Republicans don’t want us here” and whatever they say about the economy “will naturally be to the advantage to the wealthy and hurt the working class.”


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