“La Iglesia” in Politics? Religion and Latino Public Opinion*


  • Replication data are available from the author on request. The author sincerely thanks Michael Lewis-Beck and Brian Lai for their helpful feedback and suggestions.

Direct correspondence to Nicholas F. Martini, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa, 341 Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, nicholas.f.martini@gmail.com.



This article explores how religion shapes Latino opinion regarding religion and public life.


This article uses a 2006 national survey of Latinos (N = 4,016) conducted by the Pew Research Center. The data are investigated through logistic regression and ordered logit.


Religion does have a substantial influence on how Latinos view the role of the church in politics. Specifically, Latinos with higher levels of religious behavior and more orthodox beliefs were significantly more supportive of religion being involved in politics. Religious affiliation also mattered.


Religion is a powerful influence on how Latinos feel about the role of religion in politics. This influence mirrors findings from studies of the general population (Jelen and Wilcox, 1995; Guth et al., 2006; Smidt, 2007), giving support to the notion that there is little difference between Latinos and the general population when it comes to the influence of religion.