kerry.jpgrosary2.jpgA Quinnipiac poll out today shows that the presidential race is surprisingly tight in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, given the unpopularity of President and lingering anti-Republican sentiment. One of Obama’s biggest vulnerabilities: white Catholics. These are many of the same voters who kept Hillary Clinton going for so long during the Democratic primaries.
In both Florida and Ohio, Obama’s losing white Catholics to McCain by 52-percent to 40-percent. That’s not an insignificant gap. (In Pennsylvania, white Catholics are evenly split between the Democratic and Republican candidates.) It’s not as dramatic as the gap in 2004, when John Kerry lost white Ohio Catholics (one in four Buckeye State voters) to President Bush 59-41 and lost Florida Catholics 59-41. But the difference from 2004 says more about Catholic uncertainty about John McCain than any increase in Catholic support for Obama.
That means Obama has an opening. But also that he hasn’t seized it yet. For all the attention lavished on evangelical voters, Catholics are the swing voters who could decide the election with how they cast their ballots. Evangelicals, who vote overwhelmingly Republican, are more likely to decide the election by whether they go to the polls or stay home on Election Day.


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