The Man Behind the GOP's Catholic Strategy
A Catholic inside-baseball story turns huge. Why? Because it involves the presidential election.
BY: Deborah Caldwell
Today, with days to go before the Republican National Convention and then a few short weeks before the Nov. 2 election, it's impossible to know who will win the White House. But both political parties know this: there are 64 million Catholics in the United States, or about 25% of the population. Recent polling has shown Catholics with a slight preference for John Kerry, the first Catholic candidate since 1960, over President Bush. Catholics who attend church infrequently support Kerry by a wide margin. However, among Mass-attending Catholics, Bush leads Kerry. These are the voters Hudson has helped the Bush campaign capture.
Meanwhile, combined data fromGallup's two most recent polls
, conducted July 19-21 and July 30-Aug. 1, show that Catholic registered voters who attend church weekly support Bush over Kerry, 52% to 42%. They represent about one-third of all Catholic registered voters. Among Catholic registered voters who attend church nearly every week or monthly, Kerry leads Bush, 50% to 45%. This group represents about 27% of all Catholic registered voters. Among Catholic registered voters who rarely or never attend church, Kerry leads, 57% to 39%. This group represents about 38% of all U.S. Catholic registered voters.
Donohue told the New York Times that Hudson's resignation would hurt the Bush campaign's efforts with Catholic voters. "He was the ultimate networker," Donohue said. "I think it will be hurt because of the ties that Deal had."
Hudson clearly knew the stakes in the spring. "This election is nothing less than a test for the Catholic Church in the United States," Hudson told Beliefnet in a May interview.
And now, perhaps, more so.