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This Study On Latino Republicans And Their Beliefs Will Make You Better Understand Your MAGA Family

Like most other American families, Latino-American families can be home to a wide range of differing political opinions, leaving family members on each side of the aisle appalled with each other’s opposite opinions. You might be a liberal trying to understand how your brown, immigrant mami is walking around in a MAGA hat, or you might be just as pleased as we are that the Latino vote is finally being more closely examined. Either way, The Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston has given a home to Professor Rottinghaus and co-author Rudy Fonseca, who just published a study complete with answers to all your questions.

Myth #1: “Latinos are Natural Democrats…but it Ain’t Happening in Texas”

Credit: @stormirdgz / Twitter

Tejanos are more likely to be registered Republicans than Latinos in other states. Twenty-seven percent of Tejanos identified as Republican, compared to 21 percent of Latinos in all other states during a 2014 Gallup poll. That said, the study reports that “divisive rhetoric and harsh immigration policies has
led many to hit the alarm.” As of September 2019, Trump has a 24 percent approval rating among Latinos, compared with an average of 30 percent to 35 percent of the Latino vote typically given to Republicans.

Bottom line: The majority of Latino-Americans identify with the Democratic party, but about a third of us identify as Republican.

Myth #2: “Latinx Republicans Must Be Less Conservative than Other Republicans”

Study: “Six Myths About Texas Latinx Republicans.” Brandon Rottinghaus, Rudy Fonseca. 3 October 2019.

This myth is also pretty close to the truth, but it’s not the whole story. While Latino Republicans are more likely to identify as “somewhat conservative” than Republicans as a whole, it doesn’t mean they fall right in the middle of the political spectrum. An October 2016 Texas Tribune poll illustrated that Latino Republicans are far less likely to identify as “extremely conservative” than their Republican counterparts as a whole. 

Bottom line: Latino Republicans are slightly less conservative than Republicans as a whole, but are still squarely Republican. Rottinghaus’s study notes that the party is likely to lose Latino voters if they continue to lean more extremely to the right. 

Myth #3: “Latinx Republicans Are Moderating Recently As Republican Party
Rhetoric Grows more Conservative”

Study: “Six Myths About Texas Latinx Republicans.” Brandon Rottinghaus, Rudy Fonseca. 3 October 2019.

Myth #2 brings us straight to myth #3. Latino Republicans are growing more conservative over time. Another Texas Tribune poll just two years later showed that 27 percent of Latino Republicans are now identifying as “extremely conservative,” as compared to 19 percent just two years prior.

The same poll broke down some differences of opinion. When it comes to deportation, border security, trade negotiations, and judicial nominees, Latino Republicans were less in favor of Trump’s tactics than other Republicans. They were also 18 percent less likely to feel that “Trump cares about people like you” than the Republican party as a whole.

Bottom line: The myth is true. Latino Republicans are more moderate compared to the Republican party at large. 

Myth #4: Latinos are Culturally Conservative, And This is the Only Reason They
Support the Republican Party

Credit: @LaRepublicana86 / Twitter

The study concludes what we all already knew. If you had to genuflect in front of a Jesus painting at the entrance of your house, that (i.e. religion) plays a “major role” in choosing the Republican party. Those religious values that determine pro-life and anti-gay marriage political beliefs strongly swing a Latino’s choice of party. 

Bottom line: Of course, cultural beliefs are not the “only reason” Latinos might become Republicans. Homeowners and Latinos who have established roots in the U.S. for several generations are more likely to support the Republican party. Men are also more likely than Latinas to identify as Republican. The higher the income, the higher the probability a Latino might identify as a Republican.

Myth #5: “Latinx Republicans are “Softer” On Illegal Voting and Immigration
Than Other Republicans”

Study: “Six Myths About Texas Latinx Republicans.” Brandon Rottinghaus, Rudy Fonseca. 3 October 2019.

The study concludes that while Latino Republicans, in fact, are “softer” on these issues than other Republicans, the one area that sets them apart is deportation. A Texas Tribune 2016 poll showed 19 percent of Latino Republicans “strongly agreed” that “undocumented immigrants should be deported immediately,” compared to 35 percent of all Republicans. 

Bottom line: When it comes to immigration, Latino Republicans don’t see it as such a serious threat as other Republicans, but that gap is beginning to close. The 2018 Texas Tribune poll showed a nearly 15 percent rise in general opinion that “undocumented immigrants should be deported immediately,” and the gap between Latino Republicans and the party as a whole has closed by 2 points.

Myth #6: Latinos Don’t Feel Welcome in the Republican Party

Credit: @stormirdgz / Twitter

The Houston study completely debunked this myth, finding that 61 percent of Latinx Republicans do feel welcome in the Republican party, compared to 68% of all Republicans. They might not feel as welcome as other Republicans, but the majority do feel welcome.

Bottom line: While Latino-Republicans feel welcome in their own party as a whole, only 22 percent of them feel the Republican party is “doing a good job” in reaching out to Latinos, according to the study. “The “sleeping giant” is real: Latinos are predicted to become
the largest population group in Texas by 2022,” the study concludes. If immigration is where Latino Republicans have differing views, the continued focus on deportation in the 2020 campaign could cause Latino Republicans to feel even less welcome in their own party.

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