Obama’s Catholic Problem Shrinks, Doesn’t Disappear

catholicvote.jpgThough he lost Catholics overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton in the Ohio and Pennsylvania primaries, a new AP analysis shows that Barack Obama would more or less split Catholics with John McCain in a general election matchup.

Significant blocs of voters who have been closely contested in recent presidential elections — or veered from one party to the other, making them true swing groups — have leaned toward Obama’s rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the primaries. Besides women and Catholics, these include the elderly, the less educated and suburbanites, leading Clinton to argue she is her party’s stronger candidate.
Even so, polls this month show the Illinois senator — assuming he clinches the Democratic nomination — leading McCain among women, running even among Catholics and suburbanites and trailing with people over age 65….
Though Obama trails Hillary Clinton by 25 points among Catholics in the primaries, he and McCain are dividing them about evenly in national polls. Catholics, a quarter of the 2004 electorate, backed Bush narrowly that year, leaned slightly to Gore in 2000 and heavily toward President Clinton in 1996.


Spiritual Politics’ Mark Silk takes the poll as evidence that there’s “no particular Catholic problem for the Illinois senator.” God-o-Meter is not so sure.
Sure, Catholics only slightly favored Al Gore in 2000 and only slightly opposed John Kerry in 2004. But both those candidates lost. When Democratic presidential candidates actually win, like Bill Clinton did, they do so–at least in part–by winning Catholics decisively.
By that standard, Obama’s splitting the Catholic vote with McCain may not be a huge problem. But it could be big enough to lose him the election.


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posted May 29, 2008 at 11:43 am

Check out today’s WSJ analysis of Catholic voters:

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posted May 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm

The WSJ article is very telling. Whoever makes the move to communicate to Catholic voters in language they understand will win the Catholic vote. The quote from Obama’s faith guy is simply clumsy. Both campaigns have much to work to do if they are going to capture the Catholic vote.

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posted May 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Don’t forget that Catholics went for Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections, as well. The WSJ article today tried to frame the Catholic vote as reliably Republican, but that is anything but the case. In that last 3 presidential elections, Democrats won the Catholic vote 2 out of 3 times and won the popular vote 2 out of 3 times. If Obama wins the Catholic vote, however small the margin, he will likely have done well overall.
What might tip the scales further for him, I might add, is that he has more cross-over appeal than Gore or Kerry. Gore ran against Bush in a pratically evenly divided election, Kerry was painted as ineffectual and a flip-flopper. Barack Obama does not share those handicaps; instead, he brings a unifying politics and millions of new voters with him.
I’d be that even if Obama wins the Catholic vote by a hair, he will do well overall.

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posted May 30, 2008 at 7:45 am

Hillary Clinton shines in all areas for Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims. She has remained 9 consistently on the “God-O-Meter.” Hillary has the vote of women and especially women in roles that men have often called them “Sweetie,” like waitresses, nurses and reporters.
I do not believe that women voters will not vote for Obama because he calls professional women “Sweetie.” He does not even know that this is a demeaning name that men have often called women in working settings. His recent address to women is just hype to try to charm them into thinking that he is going to work toward women’s rights. He has no plan nor has he had any intentions to do so before the issue surfaced of his attitude toward women. I believe it is a reflection of his early radical Muslim education for which his mother allowed him to be subjected to.

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Blue Danube

posted June 2, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Catholics back Obama because of Iraq anti-Semitism and Buchanan’s new book. Brzezisnki (Obama main advisor) believes Catholics and Muslims must unite under Fatima to beat back Jews and Protestants and democracy. Catholics have hijcked USA policy in East Europe, Rwanda, Timoor, Phillipines, Vietnam. They were responsible for slavery and bigotry (Roger Taney, John Wilkes Booth) and the socialist labor corruption (Tammany, Daley, Hitler, Hoffa, Meany). They never hesitated to spread their bigotry against democracy (Pio Nino said voting was immoral), Free Trade, Jews or Orthodox Christians. It is not racism to say this because Catholicism is a choice, not by birth.

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