Dr. Melissa Deckman is a Professor of Political Science at Washington College and a PRRI Affiliated Scholar. Her research interests center on the intersection of religion, women, and politics. She has written in the past about the Christian Right’s participation in school board politics. Her most recent work is as co-editor and contributor to Curriculum and the Culture Wars: Debating the Bible’s Place in Public Schools. PRRI sat down with Dr. Deckman to discuss the significance of the book.
Laurie Goodstein has penned a great new article for The New York Times on PRRI’s Hispanic Values Survey. Goodstein, who interviewed PRRI CEO Dr. Robert P. Jones in Austin upon the report’s release at the Religion Newswriters Association annual conference, highlights the challenges facing Republicans as they aim to win over Hispanic voters in coming elections.
The outlook for Republicans has grown increasingly negative since 2004, when President George W. Bush won re-election with 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. The survey, released Friday by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit research group in Washington, found that 56 percent of registered Hispanic voters identified with the Democrats, while 19 percent said they identified with Republicans, and 19 percent as independents.
The religious identities of Hispanics are also changing, with 69 percent saying they grew up Catholic, but only 53 percent saying they identify as Catholic now. Those saying they are evangelical Protestants have increased by six percentage points to 13 percent. But Hispanics, like Americans as a whole, are increasingly claiming no religion at all: 7 percent of Hispanics say they were raised in a faith but now have no religious affiliation, bringing the total percentage of Hispanics with no religion to 12 percent.
Robert P. Jones, the chief executive of the institute, said in an interview: “If these trends continue, what we’ll see is a growing polarization among Hispanics, anchored on one end by evangelicals, who tend to be conservative, and on the other end by religiously unaffiliated Hispanics. The unaffiliated voted for Obama by 80 percent, so you see really different political profiles.”
Click here to check out the rest of Goodstein’s piece at The New York Times.