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obama37.jpgNewsday rehashes the news about Obama’s stepped-up efforts to win Catholics in light of Hillary Clinton’s advantage among those voters, but adds the important point that this isn’t just a primary season problem for Obama:

Catholics are among the most powerful swing voting blocs in American politics; they backed the winner in seven of the last eight presidential elections. And Obama’s failure to connect with a majority of Catholics in the Democratic primaries is one of his campaign’s biggest headaches – one that poses a major threat to his chances of winning heavily-Catholic Pennsylvania next week and the big prize in November, experts say.
“It’s a big problem for him not just now but if he prevails and goes to the general election,” said pollster Chris Borick, director of Pennsylvania’s Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

If Obama wins the nomination, Catholics will need to be an important part of his November coalition, given that they’re exactly the kind of swing voters that John McCain will be gunning for. Check out this nifty chart from Adherents.com:
Top 10 U.S. States with Most Catholics, 1990

New York
California
Pennsylvania
Illinois
Texas
New Jersey
Massachusetts
Michigan
Ohio
Florida

If Hillary Clinton takes Pennsylvania, she’ll have won all those states but Illinois, Obama’s home state. Regardless of whether his new Catholic outreach operation succeeds in narrowing Hillary Clinton’s Pennsylvania lead, it will need to say active going into the fall if he takes the nomination.


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