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Pew poll: Obama opens up lead over Romney among Catholics
Obama has substantially widened his lead among Catholic voters since June, the Pew poll found.
September 27th, 2012
11:24 AM ET

Pew poll: Obama opens up lead over Romney among Catholics

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama has opened up a significant lead among Catholic voters, a crucial swing voting bloc, according to a recent Pew poll.

Obama leads opponent Mitt Romney among Catholic voters by 54% to 39%, according to the survey, conducted from September 12 to 16 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Obama’s lead in the Pew survey comes despite outspoken recent criticism of the Obama administration from America’s Catholic bishops and despite Mitt Romney’s selection of a Catholic running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

The survey was released last week, but the findings on Catholic voters were highlighted this week by the Religion News Service, which notes that Obama held a much tighter 49-47% lead over Romney among Catholics in a June Pew poll.

John Green, a religion and politics expert at the University of Akron, said Obama’s gains among Catholic came from growing support among Hispanic and black Catholic voters, but also from white Catholics, among whom Obama is now tied with Romney.

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“That’s the part of the poll that I think is kind of surprising,” Green said, noting that Obama lost white Catholics in 2008, even as he won the overall Catholic vote.

Green said that it is white Catholics who were most likely to be receptive to the bishops’ recent attacks against the Obama administration over what the church says is the White House’s curtailment of religious freedom.

In its recent “Fortnight for Freedom,” campaign, the church urged American priests to denounce the administration’s requirement that health insurance companies provide free contraception coverage to employees, even if those employees work for Catholic organizations that oppose contraception.

“The bishops were hoping those efforts would bring more moderate and liberal Catholics, not necessarily for Romney but against the administration’s position,” Green said.

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John Allen, CNN’s chief Vatican analyst, noted that at least one other recent national poll gave Romney a slight lead among Catholics, and that Romney leads among Catholics who attend Mass each week.

“That either shows that the more practicing you are, the more pro-Romney (or anti-Obama) you are,” Allen said in an e-mail message, “or it says something about the political message Catholics are getting in their parishes these days.”

Catholic voters, who accounted for more than a quarter of the electorate in the 2008 election, have voted with the winning presidential candidate in every election going back to the early 1990s.

In 2008, Obama beat John McCain among Catholics by 54% to 45%. In 2004, John Kerry the first Catholic nominee for president since John F. Kennedy lost the Catholic vote to George W. Bush, provoking Democrats to take Catholic outreach more seriously.

Both major parties had America’s highest-profile Catholic cleric, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, give the closing prayer at their recent political conventions.

The Democratic Convention also featured a Catholic nun who led a “nuns on the bus" tour attacking the federal budget that Ryan designed in his role as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

The Obama and Romney campaigns have both rolled out Catholic outreach efforts in recent days, and the Romney camp has highlighted Ryan’s Catholicism.

“A faithful Catholic, Paul believes in the worth and dignity of every human life,” Romney said when he introduced Ryan as his running mate last month.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Bishops • Catholic Church • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (1,503 Responses)
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    April 15, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  2. Ciimeegh

    This is SO a homework qteouisn honey.He wanted a divorce from Cathryn of Spain so that he could marry Anne Bolyn (and hopefully a male heir). The religion he established was Anglicanism. It was basically Catholicism but with the King of England as the head instead of the Pope. As a result of this, when he died, England was deeply divided. His daughter Mary (Bloody Mary) by his first wife switched the official religion to Catholic again, and thousands were murdered. Then she died of a tumor and Elizabeth took the throne, switching it back to Anglicanism (and thousands more died). The death went on for hundreds of years.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:34 am |
  3. Kummin

    I frankly don't believe this so-called poll, especially being on the Clinton News Network. I have seen or heard of it nowhere else. Could he have a lead amongst Catholics, especially since many also fall into the group labelled Hispancic. Yes – but 54 to 39 percent? NO WAY.

    October 26, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Kay

      Well, that's what the National Catholic Reporter says the poll says. As does the Pew Research Group's own website.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Well you wouldn't hear about Romney losing in the Polls on Fox now would you? Actually Fox did talk about this poll. They talked about it a lot and claimed that it oversampled Democratic voters. (Of course they would!)

      It's also from a full month ago – Sep 27. Pew's newer data shows the gap has closed a lot.

      As of October 7, Pew data amongst all Catholics was:

      Obama: .... 47%
      Romney ... 45%

      http://projects.pewforum.org/2012-presidential-election-candidate-religious-groups/#catholics

      See also:
      http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/The-Catholic-Swing-Vote.aspx

      October 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      White Catholics are:

      Romney ... 52%
      Obama ..... 40%

      http://projects.pewforum.org/2012-presidential-election-candidate-religious-groups/#white-catholics

      But Hispanic Catholics make a big difference in the total Catholic vote.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  4. Dianne

    All you people on here supporting Mitt Romney, We will go to WAR if he is elected and your children will DIE and not his children or anybody in his family. He will make sure of that. He has the same advisers that Bush had. War to them is MONEY, they don't care about American or our Allies family lives. I am so tired of people dying and because you HATE Pres. Obama, you are willing to elect Mitt Romney and know in your hearts...we will go to WAR. But due to HATE you are willing to sacrifice Americans just to get ONE person...Pres. Obama.

    October 26, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  5. Thank God!

    These people are not Catholic. This is just an Obambam way of trying to win Catholic votes. Obama's political advisers are running scared of losing the election, so they have try to reel the Catholic vote, no matter how big of a knife they are going to stick in our backs next year, IF, and only IF this guy is re-elected.
    As a Catholic, I know that voting for this guy is a MORTAL SIN.

    What is a Mortal Sin? All sin is an offense against God and a rejection of his perfect love and justice. Yet, Jesus makes a distinction between two types of sins. We call the most serious and grave sins, mortal sins. Mortal sins destroy the grace of God in the heart of the sinner. By their very grave nature, a mortal sin cuts our relationship off from God and turns man away from his creator. http://www.saintaquinas.com/mortal_sin.html

    October 25, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Thank God!

      Voting for an individual that is supportive of abortion is a Mortal Sin. There are many other issues that the Democrats drag on because they are popular issues to win votes, but they are all on a down hill slide to hell unless they repent.
      With the Mortal Sin being an issue in my family, we are no longer democrats. We switched sides, my wife and I, 30 years ago much to the surprise of our families, parents and in-laws. We do serve God as is intended to the best of our ability, and we do a good job.

      October 25, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Dianne

      The LORD gave us ALL "FREE WILL" just as Pres. Obama is doing. He, Pres. Obama is Pres> of these United States and is not LIKE THE GOP implementing his religious beliefs on Americans. The LORD wants us to use the FREE WILL he has given us to decide our LOVE for him freely. A Mortal Sin is what the GOP is doing...FORCING THEIR FREE WILL ON US. The Church is supposed to teach us GODs LOVE but not tell us HOW TO LOVE HIM BACK...IT IS OUR FREE WILL THAT DOES THAT. And I am a Catholic.

      October 26, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Kay

      Please show us where the Bible itself says that abortion is a sin of any sort.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kay

      The god of the bible is so pro-abortion it's hilarious.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Bogey

      @Kay

      In the Bible, does it say that killing innocent human beings is wrong? If so, that is where it says abortion is wrong.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Bogey

      @Kay

      The Bible never specifically mentions anything about arson, littering, cheating on tests, etc. being sinful. Does that mean that those things are not sinful in your mind? Abortion is just a type of murder.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  6. Cielo

    Also, the picture accompanying this article is misleading. The people in the photograph are not Catholic. If they were Catholics, they would be carrying the body of Christ on the cross, and not just "a cross". Corpus Christi.

    October 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  7. Cielo

    Not this Catholic, nor any catholic I know. But it's not so much his brazen attempt at mandating churches or various faith's to pay for what they teach against, but it's more because in case anyone failed to notice, Obama did not deliver not ONE, not even ONE of his campaign promises, and is not leading our country in the right direction. That is why THIS Catholic will not vote for him again. He's a smooth talker. He's a flawless and charming liar. He doesn't deliver.

    October 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Cielo

      Also, the picture accompanying this article is misleading. The people in the photograph are not Catholic. If they were Catholics, they would be carrying the body of Christ on the cross, and not just "a cross". Corpus Christi.

      October 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Kay

      Baloney. Check PolitiFact if you want a list of the campaign promises he kept. There are 192 of them. He also had to compromise on 77, there are 176 currently in the works, and 45 are stalled.

      How many campaign promises did he *not* keep? 86. So please don't pretend he didn't keep any campaign promises, because you aren't even close to being right. Yeesh.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.