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God-O-Meter

obamasign.jpgThe Obama campaign just fired off an email memo whose title begins: “Obama Overperforms Among Catholics…” Technically, that’s right. But Hillary Clinton nonetheless trampled Obama among Catholics today in Pennsylvania, where they accounted for roughly a third of the Democratic vote.
According to exit polls, Clinton won Pennsylvania Catholics 69-percent to 31-percent. That’s even worse than Obama did among Catholics last month in Ohio’s primary, where he took 36-percent of Catholics, compared to 63-percent for Clinton.
How could the Obama campaign argue that it “outperformed” among Catholics? It cites a Quinnipiac poll from March 18 that had Obama trailing Clinton among Catholics 70-percent to 24-percent, which means he narrowed Clinton’s lead today. God-o-Meter noted earlier today that the margins of error involved cast some doubt on those claims. Even ignoring the margin of error, however, Obama’s apparent gain among Catholics doesn’t change the fact that they’re his Achilles’ heel in the rust belt states.
Defending itself against allegations that Obama has a Catholic electoral problem, his campaign argues in tonight’s email memo that it’s unfair to treat Catholics as a voting bloc:
“[P]undits will often discuss the “Catholic vote” in monolithic terms, suggesting that American Catholics vote in blocs. From universities to think tanks, this notion has been refuted. There are nearly 70 million American Catholics, young and old, rich and poor, white, African American, Latino, Asian. When other important factors are considered, often the impact of this vote becomes difficult to assess.”
Maybe Obama’s religious strategists are right about that. It would certainly help explain why the campaign’s vigorous Catholic outreach program has seemed to yield such a scrawny return at the polls today.


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