But taking the percentage of people in the workforce to prove "work ethic," is probably not the best way of measuring work "ethic" according to Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto. There are a number of reasons that an individual might not enter into the workforce, including the choice to be a stay-at-home mother and the inability to find a job, among others.
On another measure of work ethic, however, Latinos do consistently show a commitment to self-reliance. Three-quarters of Latinos say that most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard, while 58% of the general public said the same, according to a 2011 Pew study. And more than 70 percent of Hispanics think that minorities should be self-reliant, the highest of any ethnic group, according to 2004 National Politics Survey.
Pew studies also contradict Murray's conclusion (and Coulter's point) that Hispanics don't go to church at as high of rates as whites. A 2007 Pew Hispanic Center study on the same topic indicates that 44 percent of Hispanics go to church weekly, while only 40 percent of non-Hispanics go to church.
Murray responded that the difference in the Pew data and his own reading of GSS data was small enough to be a "rounding error" and says the Pew study only reinforces the argument he was trying to make in the first place.
"My point is that Hispanics look a whole lot like other people," he said. "They are not more conspicuously religious."
The political scientist says that his intent was to demonstrate to the part of the right wing of his party that Hispanics are not exceptionally socially conservative, and that they won't help the party to win on social issues in the future. Rather, he says, the Republican party must become more progressive about issues like gay marriage and abortion in order to win future elections. Murray also wanted to clarify that, "what [he] said and what Ann Coulter is using [the data for] are two very different things."
Still, Murray's shaky statistical conclusions about Hispanic work ethic and faith have served as fodder for Coulter to miscategorize the Hispanic community, as Bill O'Reilly did just a few weeks ago when he said that Latinos feel "entitled to stuff."
Last week, the conservative Latino group Cafe Con Leche demanded an apology from Coulter, and noted that the tone of her column is exactly why Latinos didn't go Romney's way.
"The real reason why Republicans did so poorly among Latinos is due to manipulation by anti-immigrant groups, and shrill rhetoric by [Ann Coulter] and a small minority of Republican politicians which provides ample ammunition for liberals to frame the Republican Party as anti-Latino and anti-immigrant," the group said in a press statement." The Republican Party is neither anti-Latino or anti-immigrant."