Among Latino registered voters, support for President Barack Obama is higher among Catholics and those with no religious affiliation than among evangelical Protestants, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
Obama has the support of 73 percent of Latino Catholics and 82 percent of Latinos with no religious affiliation, but only half (50 percent) of Latino evangelicals. Obama's main rival in the presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney, has the support of 39 percent of Latino evangelicals, but only 19 percent of Latino Catholics and seven percent of Latinos with no religious affiliation.
Among all Latino registered voters, Obama has a 48 percentage point advantage over Romney, 69 to 21 percent, according to the survey.
Obama has a 15 percentage point advantage among all Catholic registered voters, 54 to 39 percent. The survey indicates that this advantage is driven by Latino Catholics. Among white non-Latino Catholics, Obama only has a one percentage point advantage, 47 to 46 percent.
Evangelical Latinos are also less likely to identify with the Democratic Party than other Latinos. Fifty-two percent of the Latino evangelical registered voters in the survey said they were Democrats or leaned toward the Democratic Party. By comparison, 71 percent of Latino Catholics and 81 percent of Latinos with no religious affiliation were Democrats or Democratic leaning.
The Latino vote has become an important topic among the political parties. Latinos are expected to become a growing part of the electorate due to immigration and a high birth rate.
Latinos were a core part of the coalition that helped Obama get elected in 2008. He received 67 percent of the Latino vote. This recent survey indicates he is on course to match or exceed that showing in next month's election.
Some Republicans have expressed concern that the harsh rhetoric among some Republicans on immigration reform and Romney's opposition to immigration reforms that include a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants living in the United States will harm the Party's chances to bring more Latinos into its coalition. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are among the Republican leaders who have worked to attract more Latinos into the Republican fold.
The Sept. 7 to Oct. 4 survey of 1,765 Latinos had 903 registered voters. The margin of error for the registered voters is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.