"Latinos for Trump, 2016 RNC" by Voice of America / Public Domain

The Latinx Culture War Is The Untold Story Of The 2020 Election

Nov 20, 2020

By Juhem Navarro-Rivera

This year as turnout increased among all groups, and despite losing the popular vote again, Donald Trump gained over 10 million votes. Media narratives have placed a lot of attention on the Latinx vote since the president seems to have gained substantial support among this cohort. While two-thirds of Latinxs voted for Joe Biden, all agree that Trump won roughly 30% or more, depending on the source. While this may seem like a lot, it’s about the same share won by John McCain in 2008, and that Republican candidates, with the exception of Mitt Romney and Donald Trump (in 2016), have historically received.

Lots of ink has been spent analyzing why Trump received this bump among Latinx voters, but with the exception of a recent analysis by PRRI’s Natalie Jackson and a short piece by yours truly in The Humanist, religion has been a largely ignored characteristic of Latinx voters.

For starters, there are three main religious groups in the Latinx community: a Catholic plurality (about 45%), a Protestant (mostly evangelical) cohort, and a growing group of “nones”—those who claim no religious affiliation. The latter two account for roughly 25% of the Latinx population each.

The overwhelming majority of Latinx Catholics and nones, both strongly Democratic-leaning groups, voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, while Latinx Protestants only preferred the Democratic candidates by a slim margin. When exit polls reported in 2004 that 40% of all Latinx voters supported George W. Bush’s reelection effort, Protestants were the most likely to vote for him, while nones were the least likely.

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