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Associated Press Newswires

Poll: Hispanics In U.S. Remain Faithful To Democratic Party


24 June 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - With each successive U.S. presidential race, a higher percentage of Hispanic voters has voted for the Republican party candidate, but most Hispanics remain faithful to the Democratic party and its perceived values, a Hispanic voter survey showed Friday.

One out of seven U.S. residents is Hispanic. In 2004, more than 7 million Hispanics -- or 6 percent of the electorate -- voted. Nearly 60 percent voted for Sen. John Kerry, and 40 percent for President George W. Bush.

In the 2000 election, 62 percent of U.S. Hispanic voters cast ballots for Vice President Al Gore, while 35 percent voted for Bush. In 1996, 72 percent voted for President Bill Clinton, and 21 percent for Sen. Robert Dole, said pollster Stanley Greenberg, who was a Clinton and Gore adviser.

"But Hispanics are still a base Democratic community -- and if they have moved away from the party, it's because the party has not moved toward them," said Greenberg, in Puerto Rico to present the results of the survey to the annual congress of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

In June, when the survey of 1,000 likely Hispanic voters was conducted, 61 percent said they would vote Democratic, 29 Republican.

The percentage is even higher among voters under 30, with nearly three out of four surveyed saying they would vote Democratic in the next election, Greenberg said.

Republican policies on the economy, education and Iraq "are driving votes away," he said, adding that a majority of Hispanics say that the economy is producing fewer jobs and leaving the poor behind.

"More than any other community, Hispanics are opposed to the war in Iraq," Greenberg said.

Two out of three Hispanics in the U.S. are of Mexican descent, while nearly one out of 10 are Puerto Rican. Nearly 4 percent are of Cuban origin, while 15 percent are of South and Central American origin, the survey said.

Texas-born Rogelio Musquiz, 66, has Mexican ancestors. An elected county commissioner from Del Rio, Texas, he is one of the 800 elected and appointed Hispanic officials who attended the three-day congress.

"I don't believe there is such a thing as a Hispanic vote. In Texas, we're not united, especially on immigration issues," he said.

"Hispanics are indeed a diverse community," said Greenberg, whose survey showed that Hispanics were about equally divided on immigration issues.

"But on issues of the greatest importance, they are not divided," he said. "The Republican party is still perceived to be a party that is not for the poor, working or middle class."

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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