Poll on Notre Dame controversy: Good news, bad news

Notre Dame poll.gifWhich is which may depend on where you stand on this divisive issue. A new survey from the Pew Forum (main graf at right) shows that Catholics in general approve of Notre Dame’s decision to invite and honor Obama at commencement by a nearly 2-1 margin–good news to those who approve of the invitation, I suspect.

But the good news to foes of the move may be that  weekly mass attenders disapprove by 45-37. (And they almost mirror white evangelicals.)

Interestingly, when asking just Catholics who have heard of the controversy, support for Notre Dame’s decision goes up to 54 percent, but opposition also gains, to 38 percent.


What I think is actually most striking is how many Catholics are following the issue–over half (52 percent) have heard a lot or at least a little, which is not inconsequential for any story, and especially one that has received relatively little play in the secular press.

On the other hand, just 19 percent have heard “a lot” about it, which makes you wonder what the numbers would be if the Catholic public were better and more deeply informed.

In general, Obama’s standing among Catholics remains high, as with the general public, though he is on increasingly shaky ground with regular massgoers.

Views on abortion and stem cell research, meanwhile, tend to mirror the general public, as has been the case. 

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posted May 1, 2009 at 12:20 am

Interesting that this poll differs somewhat from the recent Gallup poll which showed that Catholics are more liberal than non-Catholics on a number of social issues. The Pew poll shows that most Catholics voted for Obama and about half of those who attend church weekly voted for him. Interesting in light of the fact that some bishops, as posted here, did not have very many kind words about him. Most Catholics do not base their politics on what Bishops say, just like they don’t base their beliefs on birth control or stem cell research on what those same Bishops say.

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posted May 1, 2009 at 8:38 am

gmo2 wrote: “Most Catholics do not base their politics on what Bishops say, just like they don’t base their beliefs on birth control or stem cell research on what those same Bishops say.”
All I can add is “Thank God.”

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posted May 1, 2009 at 8:51 am

Interesting indeed! 2 John 1-13 this mornings reading makes a simple statement . Either you are with Christ or you are not. The fact that complacentancy rules doesn’t change the facts. No one comes to the father except through me.
We listen over and over to lies, eventually maybe we decide that since we’ve been told over and over that our courts are always right that we start to believe that maybe it’s alright to murder babies, maybe its alright to kick God out of our every day life, maybe it’s okay to do what ever we feel like as long as it feels good to us. If the Church has rules it’s okay if they are superseded by a court, or even by one man who decides what is best for all of us even if it’s a minority opinion. As long as we refuse to do the right thing, which might just be to honor the Lord and his teachings, we will continue to lose ground and be sqelched as avoice of love and reason.

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posted May 1, 2009 at 9:04 am

It is also interesting to look at the approval for Obama for speaking at ND among African Americans. What do our country’s African American bishops have to say about the hierarchy’s rejection of Obama or Brazile. Can anyone tell me the ethnic composition of the ~50 bishops who have opposed Obama’s speech?

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posted May 1, 2009 at 9:22 am

It’s not suprising that about 50% of Catholics are in favor of Obama speaking at Notre Dame, because those are probably the same Catholics who voted for him! If this Notre Dame controversy can do anything perhaps it will splash some cold water in the faces of these Catholics who have fallen asleep or at least comfortably numb to the tragic state of Catholics in America, and the complacency that is running rampant. Wake UP! Choose a side, if you are with Obama, you cannot possibly be advocating the Catholic Church. He is an attack on many of the major issues, and we have to realize this!

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posted May 1, 2009 at 10:15 am

There are lies, big lies and statistics. Thankfully polls have nothing to do with principle or morals. Obama unfortunately is in favor – radically so – of the slaughter of the unborn. That is plain indecent. For a Catholic priest to invite him to address a Catholic graduating class, and to add to that to honor him, is almost beyond belief, were it not Nortre Dame, which Hesburgh pushed dwon the slippery slope of moral relativism years ago.

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posted May 1, 2009 at 10:26 am

The poll reflects what I would have thought. Half or more see the whole thing as a tempest in a teapot. After all, Barack Obama is President of the United States. It is an honor for any University to have him speak at their commencement.

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posted May 2, 2009 at 12:49 am

It is interesting as DLM notes that there is strong approval from black Protestants for Obama speaking at Notre Dame. What is missing is black Catholics. Do they also approve? The bishops who oppose Obama’s speech are surely all white. What else would one expect?

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posted May 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm

It has been asked “should Notre Dame still be considered a Catholic university”? Catholics who approve of the honorary degree have probably inherited the religion, but they do not practice. If they do practice, then shame on them, they should not be considered Catholic.

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