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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)
  1. guam1

    More lies!

    September 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  2. notnow

    LOL! Yuuup! I'm a Catholic and I'm votin' for the President who told us to never mind our church doctrine and values and just roll over and take the government tyranny!
    Sure CNN. Do you really believe this b.s.?

    September 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • PeterandPaul

      You're yelling at an empty chair, you know. Obama has been more dignified and respectful than any president in a long time.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Fun! Fun! Fun!

      In less than 6 weeks, you get to find out what the truth is.

      BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  3. dav

    Another poll paid for by obama the communist,I'm a catholic ,and obama is a fraud.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Fun! Fun! Fun!

      The great joy of the 2012 election will not be so much that Obama wins by a lot; it will be watching the Right Wingnuts have a collective nervous breakdown freak-out.

      Lots of fun starting November 6!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Lisa

      And then Hillary in 2016!! 🙂

      September 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  4. Louis Tash

    This year the GOP decided to let you chose between being a good Christian or a Republican. You can not do both as God would never approve of someone with three bibles one being written in the 1800's.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  5. repeatrepeaterrepeaterepeaterrepeatrepeaterrepeaterepeater

    JESUS AND MOHAMMED ARE LOVERS

    September 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • dav

      Athiest are moneys in clothes

      September 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Fun! Fun! Fun!

      "Moneys in clothes" . . . who can spell.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  6. liberal disease

    every catholic i know hates him, don't know where pew gets their info from.?

    September 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • PeterandPaul

      Yeah, I guess they found some Catholics that you don't personally know. Isn't it AMAZING?!?

      September 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • dav

      obama's lying campain paid for the poll

      September 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • magisterium

      I'd like to see these polls weed out the "catholics" who don't attend Mass weekly. YOU may consider yourself Catholic. But the Church doesn't.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  7. MASTER INFORMER of all the LESS-INFORMED

    catholics can duck my big sick just like ALL REPUGS
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    September 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Don't be such a loser

      There are times I wish the "report abuse" button worked.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  8. Big_D

    This TP really smells like Mitt.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  9. Hit the Road Jack

    Romney is a flip flop? Ah no. His views have evolved. That's what THAT is. Is that not allowed? Should we stick with every opinion we've ever had in our lives? Are we never allowed to waiver from past views? Gosh, if someone had told me way back when that I was never allowed to change my opinion I would have thought twice about, hmmm, everything! If Romeny's evolving views are considered flip-flopping, what do you call Obama's recent evolved stance on gay marriage? He's been president for dang near 4 years. He's just NOW realizing it should be legal? Mr. President, you had majority control for your first two years (hence Obamascare). If you were REALLY for gay marriage why didn't you push that through way back when? Because you're a true politician. Pandering for votes. This whole article, like most CNN political correspondence, is just another example of the liberal media trying to inflate Obama's poll numbers in the hopes that people think there no reason to get out and vote if the race is already going to be a blow out.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Yeah

      You do know it's all over already, don't you? Romney has hit the iceberg of his stupidity, and he is going down. The screamer right has alienated the moderates of this country, and the Senate will remain Democrat.

      The Tea Party is over. The tide has changed.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • kflanigan

      Only in your head.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • The Religious Right

      We pray and pray that the monkey nig president loses, but he keeps pulling further ahead. I wonder why?

      September 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Those Amish Girls

      We prayed and prayed that God would stop the gunman, but he murdered us in our school anyway.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • truth be told

      It takes a rare insensitive human being that is willing to use the suffering of others such as the Amish to bolster their own perverted view of life.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • That's the way it is

      Can't take the truth, can you prayer troll?

      September 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  11. #1 Catholic

    If your Catholic and vote for Romney then you truly don't care about religion. Romney is a koolaid drinking drone who has the personality of a dial tone

    September 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  12. George

    @! PR Did you even bother with the headline? It says Catholics are for Obama. Not the church. You folks sure are scared that loser Romney is going to lose.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  13. Hong Tong

    It's pretty obvious isn't it? As a strong Catholic, how can We ever vote for a Mormon? I am conservative to a point, but that does not mean I can give up on my values. Don't forget that the Romneys ran across the border to Mexico with their tail between their legs just so that they could practice polygamy and child marriage. Mexicans are strong Catholics as well, and I am sure they don't appreciate that, but that country has a little or no enforcement of laws..

    September 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Conrad

      And vote for a president who now fully supports abortion and gay marriage? One who has openly bashed the Bible? I hope not. A mormon in this scenario is immensley superior to the man that is currently occupying the White House.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  14. CaliforniaAC

    Catholic Bishops and Nuns have come out against Ryan's budget because it cuts from the poor, needy, elderly, and childrenng: those who cannot take care of themselves and this goes against the teachings of Jesus. So do not be surprised that this trumps anything like the free-choice use of contraceptives for women– you cannot legislate religious dogma.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  15. Jon Galt

    1PercentRevolution is coming!
    Right Makes Might – Stand And Fight!
    It seems like all true Catholics would support Obama. I do not understand why the Religious Right chooses to call Obama a Muslim when he is the only true Christian candidate in the race. From what I understand, the Mormon faith teaches that the Bible is a corrupt text which is why Joe Smith wrote the Book of Mormon. How can the Religious Right support a guy who thinks the Bible is corrupt?
    Carpe Diem!

    September 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • I'm Mitt Romney, and my campaigh is absolutely TlTANIC!!!

      After I lose by an Electoral College landslide, I am going to get revenve by going back to destroying companies and sending the jobs to China. The 47% I hate will soon be the 74% I hate, and I will make billions, and complain.

      I'm also going to get a new set on magic undies, because the ones I have didn't protect me from myself like they were supposed to.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  16. Peter Q Wolfe

    The thing that the pollster isn't tellling everybody is that U.S catholics are actually declining and being replaced by protestants and nonbelievers. This is important because protestants unlike in previous generations with the High Churches of anglicanism or lutharianism are actually declining in the U.S and that means christians as a whole are more conservative now than in previous generations. The consequences of this cannot be understated because of upcoming elections will be in part determined of this negative tragectery and hence democrats need to work on their religious/faith based efforts in coming elections.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • CaliforniaAC

      Peter,
      I am a catholic and will vote Obama mainly because the "Religious Right" places the dollar above the teachings of Christ. Our country (USA) is blessed by God, but we have gone froma "Country under God" to "A country under Greed." The GOP abandoned Lincoln to become the party of Benjamin Franklin– $100.00 BILL for the Penny.
      This election is ABOUT GREED, STUPID!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Kate

      CaliforniaAC, what does the Catechism say about war and about abortion because while the Church despises both only one is an intrinsic evil, and it is abortion.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  17. Tax Damned Churches NOW

    Americans are more educated now and less patient with religious absolutism, anti-science dogma, and fostering hatreds.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Peter

      Who is against science? It isn't the Catholic Church. I can post a list of all the Catholic Cleric scientists but to name just a few of the more famous ones, Nicolaus Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, Georges Lemaître, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tax Damned Churches NOW

      You can't be serious. Loose definition of "scientist" there. ANY Catholic cleric who published findings challenging Papal inerrancy or church dogma without prior permission and thorough editing would be defrocked and sent back to Pederasty Prep to start over.. Does the name "Galilio" bring back any memories of your proud heritage?
      And who give a sht about your deluded lying argument anyway? How does that change the corrupt absurdity of giving tax exemptions to crystal cathedrals and murdering Bishops like OBrien? Treat them like revenue stream businesses and everyday citizens... don't keep passing that cost on to homeowners and giving them leniency for their disservice to humanity. YES disservice. .

      September 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  18. Mary Nona

    THIS ARTICLE IS PURE NONSENSE. THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE CATHOLICS WILL VOTE FOR OBAMA. HE REPRESENTS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE CATHOLIC RELIGION TEACHES! THERE MAY BE A VERY FEW (THOSE WHO DON'T PRACTICE THE CATHOLIC FAITH) , BUT THE MAJORITY WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    THE LIBERALS WILL SAY ANYTHING, EVEN LIE, LIKE THEY DO ABOUT THE POLLS TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK THAT OBAMA IS AHEAD......BUT HE IS NOT......ROMNEY WILL WIN!!

    September 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • PeterandPaul

      THE CATHOLICS I KNOW ARE VOTING FOR OBAMA!!!!!! WHY ARE WE WRITING IN ALL CAPS?!?!?!?

      Ya know, Republicans have been pretty anti-Christian in their gleeful pro-war stuff when they launched us into Iraq. They're almost universally pro-death penalty, oppose programs that help the poor, and they turned us into a state that tortures people and they still push that as a good idea. So, tell us again, how do Catholics reconcile voting GOP with their faith?

      I'm not even telling you what your faith is. I'm just saying it's pretty nauseating to keep hearing right wingers tell everyone else what ours is all about.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Yeah

      All-caps means screaming. Very apropos in this case.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • CaliforniaAC

      I am a catholic and will vote Obama mainly because the "Religious Right" places the dollar above the teachings of Christ. Our country (USA) is blessed by God, but we have gone froma "Country under God" to "A country under Greed." The GOP abandoned Lincoln to become the party of Benjamin Franklin– $100.00 BILL for the Penny.
      This election is ABOUT GREED, STUPID!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • dav

      Catholics will not vote the child murder obama

      September 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Max George

      I'm a confirmed Catholic and I'm voting for Obama. Speak for yourself Ms. Nona.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Mary: Are you the voice for all Catholics?

      dav: What the hell are you talking about? Obama doesn't support murdering children...he supports a womens right to choose what she does with her own body. If you don't like abortion, feel free not to get one! If you understood the issue of abortion in the least, you'd unederstand that abortions usually can't be gotten past the end of the first tri-mester, nto to mention the fact that if women can't get abortions legally they will do so via backyard abortions (much more dangerous scenario but you wouldn't care about that). There is a reason your country has the hhighest teenage pregnancy rate in the modern world-it's due to morons like you continuing to be stupid about the facts!! Thankfully your belief in your imaginary friend can't be used in making laws!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • AmericanLiberal

      Christians are quite aware now the direction from which all the people who hate them are firing from.
      It's been a wake up call, the last couple of years.

      How can you vote for a team that basically wants to wipe you out (and everything you stand for)

      We are not only shooting ourselves in the foot with this blind arrogance, but it is suicide. They are the largest group BY FAR in the nation, hello... we are blasting our own balls off with this christian bashing – ENOUGH ALREADY !

      September 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  19. Joe Smith

    Bail out the auto industrie and keep gas prices high to force people to buy the new car that send a message of force as the Insurance fine for not buying it will get into the pocket of those who are just getting by is wrong. Nex in line will be a fine for for a fine.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      That bail out saved numerous jobs and in turn the government was repaid in full.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  20. PR

    If the catholic church wants to play in politics they can give up their tax exemption. Think of all the property they own that could now be taxed.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • George

      Did you even read the headline let alone the article? Catholics are voting for Obama. Not the church. Are you scrared that loser Romney is going to lose? I think you're down right paranoid about it.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:15 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.