“Even among the Cuban voters in Florida, you see real stark generational differences,” said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. “Older voters are more drawn to foreign policy issues than domestic policies.”
Younger Latinos are more likely than older Latinos to say abortion should be legal, according to Pew. More than half of Latinos ages 18 to 29 support abortion rights. By contrast, a majority of Latinos over 30 say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
Attitudes toward gays and lesbians also differ by age as well as by length of time in the U.S. Nearly 70 percent of 18-to-29-year-old Hispanics say homosexuality should be accepted by society, as do 60 percent of Hispanics ages 30 to 49 and 54 percent of Hispanics ages 50 to 64. By contrast, only 41 percent of Hispanics 65 or older say homosexuality should be accepted by society — a reflection of generational differences on the issue in the country at large.
Meanwhile, just over half (53 percent) of immigrant Hispanics say homosexuality should be accepted. Among second-generation Hispanics, that share rises to 68 percent.
Rodrigo Calvo, 64, is an immigrant from Costa Rica who has been a U.S. citizen for 15 years.
The Granada Hills, California, resident works in retail construction, and he votes. He said that youths have changed the immigration movement and have helped galvanize Latinos of all ages.
“Basically, for Latino voters right now, immigration reform has to happen,” Calvo said.
But according to MacManus, who is writing the book “Minority Trailblazers in Florida Politics,” how long Latinos have been in the U.S. and how long they have been citizens influence their views on immigration. There is support among Latinos of all age groups for immigration reform, but immigrants who arrived in the U.S. legally may not feel as sympathetic to the plight of the undocumented.
“The longer they’ve been assimilated, the more they tend to have traditional views about the citizenship issue,” she said. “Many of them had to go through all the hoops to get here.”