Paul Ryan, the national debt and the Latino vote

With the announcement that Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee everyone is wondering if and how this will change voter opinion, including among Latino voters.  As a starting point, I think it is safe to say that Paul Ryan is virtually unknown in the Latino community.  Less than 4% of the registered voters in Ryan’s district are Latino, and over 90% are White.  However, Ryan has staked out a very clear proposal for reducing the national debt, and we can gain considerable insight into how Latinos might view the VP candidate by examining previous data points related to the Ryan plan, government spending, and religion.

In our October 2011 impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking poll we asked respondents, “In order to reduce the national debt, would you support, or oppose reducing federal spending on Medicare, which is the government health insurance program for the elderly?

In terms of addressing and reducing the national debt, our August 2011 tracking poll with impre asked a timely question during the debt ceiling debate and how to best bring the deficit under control: “As you may know, the U.S. budget deficit is currently about 1.4 trillion dollars. There are a number of different solutions being discussed for reducing this deficit. These are cutting existing programs, raising taxes on the wealthy, or some combination of the two. Which approach do you think is best?”  Overall, a combined 83% of Latino voters said increased taxes on the wealthy should be part of the solution to addressing the deficit.


In an 2012 Latino Decisions/Univision national poll we asked Latinos about the role of government in fixing the economy, health care spending, as well as who is to blame for today’s economic troubles:

There are a lot of different views on the best way to help the economy grow. Do you think it is better for the government to lower people’s taxes, or that he government should invest resources in federal projects to stimulate the economy?

There are many possible causes for our economic troubles these last years. Thinking about the last two administrations, which would you say is MOST responsible for the economy these last few years?

When it comes to access to health care, do you think the it is the role of the government to ensure that everyone has access to health care, or that people should be responsible for getting their own health insurance?

Finally, much has been made that as a Catholic, Paul Ryan might be able to rely on shared values to reach other Catholic voters.  In our December 2011 tracking poll with impreMedia, we asked many questions about the role of religion in politics, and overwhelmingly Latino Catholics do not see a role for “moral values” issues in politics.

 Now we would like to know your reaction to different statements. After I read each pair of statements, please tell me which comes closest to your way of thinking. Okay, the first two statements are: 1) Politics is more about economic issues such as jobs, taxes, gas prices, and the minimum wage; 2) Politics is more about moral issues such as abortion, family values, and same-sex marriage


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