Using data from the 2006 Latino National Survey, we found that, indeed, each generation of Latinos is less religious, which would support the modernization theory. But we also found that the more economically secure the individuals were — i.e., if they had jobs — they became less likely to go to church regularly.
If being religious is what makes you a Republican, that’s bad news. And yet Republican presidential candidates have at times succeeded in attracting Latino voters; the peak, to date, came when President George W. Bush got roughly 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004.
Many attributed the younger Bush’s two presidential election victories to his ability to attract Latinos and evangelicals, both considered very important for Republicans in the future. Perhaps future Republicans will succeed as well — but it’s unlikely appealing to Latino religiosity will be the key.