home
RSS
Loudly Catholic Santorum loses Ohio Catholics
Mitt Romney, left, won more Ohio Catholics on Tuesday than Rick Santorum.
March 7th, 2012
03:53 AM ET

Loudly Catholic Santorum loses Ohio Catholics

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic who is outspoken about faith-based issues, lost Catholic voters by a wide margin in Ohio on Tuesday, potentially a key factor that allowed Mitt Romney to squeak out the narrowest of victories overall in the state.

According to CNN’s exit polls, Romney took 43% of Ohio Catholics on Super Tuesday, compared to 31% for Rick Santorum, and Romney beat Santorum overall by 38% to 37%.

Read how Santorum fared Tuesday

Catholic voters accounted for a third of Ohio’s Republican electorate, the largest share of Catholics in any Super Tuesday state.

Delegate tracker | Delegate calculator

“The margin of Romney's win among Ohio Catholics is surprising, given Santorum's traditional Catholicism,” says John Green, a political science professor at the University of Ohio. “Romney's margin among Ohio Catholics - especially in the three largest metropolitan areas - may account for his close win in Ohio.”

Green notes that Romney, a Mormon, has consistently won the Catholic vote in this year’s Republican primaries. That pattern runs counter to speculation that Catholics would focus more on hot-button issues at a time when Catholic bishops are battling the Obama White House over government-mandated contraception coverage.

Get the latest news on Santorum's campaign

Romney has denounced the Obama administration’s contraception rule but Santorum has gone further, making social issues a cornerstone of his campaign. Last week, the former Pennsylvania senator said that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech in which the then-presidential candidate advocated an absolute separation of church and state nearly made him throw up.

The Catholic vote is one of the largest swing blocs in the country, voting for the winning presidential candidates from both parties in recent elections. But the bloc is so diverse, including many Catholics who differ with church leaders on social issues and many who have drifted from the church, that many religious and political experts dismiss any notion of a “Catholic vote.”

Read how Santorum plans to fight to the end

In Ohio, the most contested of the 10 states to cast ballots on Tuesday, Catholics represented one of GOP primary’s main constituencies. Another major bloc, white evangelicals, comprised almost half of the Ohio vote, and broke for Santorum over Romney by 47% to 30%.

One progressive Catholic group made political hay out of Santorum’s weak showing among Ohio Catholics, emailing reporters a statement titled “Santorum campaigns on divisive wedge issues, promptly loses Catholic vote.”

Five things we learned from Super Tuesday

“Catholic voters care more about economic issues that affect their families than they do about socially divisive wedge issues like contraception,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, in the statement.

“Mainstream Catholics want leaders who can address the moral challenges of our day like income inequality, underwater mortgages and poverty,” Salt continued, “not leaders who perpetuate a never-ending culture war that divides our community.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Politics • Rick Santorum

Next entry »
soundoff (966 Responses)
  1. Surellin

    Yeesh! Did anyone catch the slant in this article? I'm not even Catholic, but I cringed a little at the headline ("Loudly Catholic Santorum") and the picture (St. Francis of the Foothills: Bodybuilding Worship 7:45). And, just by the way, it is Ohio University, not University of Ohio. And, finally, why put in the amusing "Bodybuilding" church sign when that church is in Tuscon AZ? Was it totally impossible to find a tasteful Catholic illustration? Or one from Ohio? I'm a little disgusted.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • withoutgod

      A tasteful Catholic illustration? Like, perhaps, one of an allegedly innocent man being tortured and killed so that believers don't have any personal responsibility?

      March 7, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • PiusO

      I agree with you Surellin. I journalism, it is called priming. Attempting to highlight some attributes that could influence public opinion. Unfortunately, in this case – wrong attributes!

      March 7, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • PiusO

      I agree with you Surellin. In journalism, it is called priming. Attempting to highlight some attributes that could influence public opinion. Unfortunately, in this case – wrong attributes!

      March 7, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • D.J.

      WithoutGod- Who claims we have NO personal responsibility? Certainly not Catholics.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  2. MDCambridge

    Catholics also believe in individual responsibility, not mandated responsibility. Although they might agree with Santorum about what he says today, I believe that they see his radical perspective as one day going too far, even by their standards.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • withoutgod

      Don't believe in mandated responsibility? So, no Ten Commandments for you, huh? Religion is all about mandates from God. Religion is derived from the alleged mandates from God. Christianity is essentially defined by the notion of putting the responsibility of ALL of the crimes of ALL believers onto one innocent man, and then praising the torture and murder of that man.. Nothing says "individual responsibility" like letting someone else suffer and die so that you don't face the consequences for your own wrongdoings. Gee, what a great moral code. A cult of human sacrifice, ritual cannibalism, death, and . Who wouldn't want to believe that?

      March 7, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Doug

      Ugh, all of your views are mandated by a 3500 year old book written by sheep herders in Iraq. Go back to Cambridge and learn a thing or two...

      March 7, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  3. enkephalin07

    American Catholics don't traditionally approve of marriage between state and church any more than American Protestants. Bashing JFK's speech while his opponent is in a similar position with regard to religious acceptance probably didn't help Santorum.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  4. David

    Catholics ARE focused on 'hot-button' issues. They are telling the Bishops and the conservative politicians to back off and join the real world.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:28 am |
  5. Rayan

    Santorum calls himself Catholic but he really acts more like a Pat Robertson evangelical type. Evangelical Christians in the United States tend to be very conservative- especially on social issues, completely out of touch with reality, and identify with the Republican base- just like Santorum. Catholics in the USA, on the other hand, tend to lean Democratic or centrist, are generally much more progressive on social issues even including things like (in spite of the official position of their own church) birth control and abortion, and generally feel that religion plays a smaller role in their life and their voting behavior than Evangelicals do. So it is not at all surprising that they would favor a more moderate candidate like Romney.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • ol cranky

      I think you hit the nail on the head. When I was a little girl, growing up in a Catholic neighborhood, my friends would make it clear they were Catholic not "Christian". When I would say that Protestants & Catholics are all denominations of Christianity, they would clarify that when the people I thought of as all being Christian hear someone described as "Christian" they think of the fundamentalists "born again" variety since the fundamentalists would all say they were Christian as if nobody, regardless of denomination, who belonged to a Christian church was really Christian unless they were fundamentalists/born again.

      Santorum and his Catholic followers speak the language of the fundamentalist movement (who still hate the Catholic church for being apostate, in their opinion) almost as much as they hate Jews (who still refuse to convert) but they will keep the Catholics in their fold and support them as long as they are helping the fundamentalists achieve their end of a Christian theocracy. As soon as they get the power and control they want, or if they come to an impasse where the Pope says something that is inconsistent with what the fundamentalists believe/want, the infighting will start as if we've time traveled to the Tudor dynasty

      March 7, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  6. miki

    Even Catholics don't want to see Santorum and his V.P. choice Benedict XVI

    March 7, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  7. Zaphod2010

    Ouch! When your own turn against it's time to quit.
    Just remember ricky sanatorium women have long memories and they are no longer barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:15 am |
  8. Floccinaucinihilipilification

    Being a Catholic doesn't preclude horror at the prospect of a living in a theocratic toilet-bowl governed by a hate-filled misogynist who's deluded enough to regard himself as the voice of God and self-appointed police officer in every bedroom in America .

    March 7, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • withoutgod

      Do you live in Vatican City or something? Sounds like the pope.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  9. PiusO

    Point of correction: Votes of Ohio Republican delegates who are Catholics and NOT Ohio Catholics votes! I am sure that Sanctorum stands a better chance to win among majority of Catholics who are ready to stand by the truths that the Church defends.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • withoutgod

      here's a list of some of the "truths" the church has *wrongly* defended. Note that many of these are crimes against humanity, and includes the dates that the church formally apologized for said crimes. from wikipedia:
      The conquest of Mesoamerica by Spain in the name of the Church
      The legal process on the Italian scientist and philosopher Galileo Galilei, himself a devout Catholic, around 1633 (31 October 1992).
      Catholics' involvement with the African slave trade (9 August 1993).
      The Church Hierarchy's role in burnings at the stake and the religious wars that followed the Protestant Reformation (May 1995, in the Czech Republic).
      The injustices committed against women, the violation of women's rights and for the historical denigration of women (10 July 1995, in a letter to "every woman").
      The inactivity and silence of many Catholics during the Holocaust (16 March 1998)
      For the execution of Jan Hus in 1415 (18 December 1999 in Prague). When John Paul II visited Prague in 1990s, he requested experts in this matter "to define with greater clarity the position held by Jan Hus among the Church's reformers, and acknowledged that "independently of the theological convictions he defended, Hus cannot be denied integrity in his personal life and commitment to the nation's moral education." It was another step in building a bridge between Catholics and Protestants.
      For the sins of Catholics throughout the ages for violating "the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and [for showing] contempt for their cultures and religious traditions". (12 March 2000, during a public Mass of Pardons).
      For the sins of the Crusader attack on Constantinople in 1204. (4 May 2001, to the Patriarch of Constantinople).

      The church's notion of "truth" brought us the Dark Ages. Note that any of these could easily be justified by Bible verses commanding God's followers to do such things. If the church is willing to admit that God is wrong, what does that say about God? Also note that in spite of admitting that the church has historically denigrated women, it continues to do so unashamedly.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • BelgianWoman

      And what about the truths that the Church tried to hide? All these pedophile priests and bishops abusing children?

      March 7, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  10. Tom

    I have a new respect for Ohio voters because of their demonstrated ability to think for themselves especially in matters of social issues.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  11. tom4650

    Not terribly suprising. I am thinking that a majority of Catholic voters are leaning to a more centrist and inclusive approach to governance as well as their religion. Santorum is coming across more as a Roman Baptist. The days of Catholics voting for someone JUST BECAUSE HE IS A CATHOLIC are done, long gone with JFK.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Willy4

      Agree – Catholics are not as rigid as the "media" portrays them. They are a diverse & thoughtful group of society as indicated by their voting record...too back the vast majority of our African-American population are not as thoughtful with their voting.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  12. csxltm

    The next president of the US would look like this?

    March 7, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  13. Kebos

    I hope Santorum wins the GOP nomination and presidency. The USA deserves getting him as president.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • longtooth

      That's a little harsh!

      March 7, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • s

      sounds to me your a Towel head

      March 7, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • sam stone

      s: sounds to me like you're an inbred mother-"loving" bigot.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • cigarman

      No thanks Kebos, all of America is not as dumb as Sanitarium.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  14. Marlee

    I'm not surprised Romney won Ohio and did well among Catholics, it's all about the fiat. I am disgusted with Catholic rulers and pedophilia and people who support abortion and then turn around and call themselves Catholic. If we put goodness first the economy would prosper.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:54 am |
  15. Peter E

    That's because most of us Catholics are actual decent, caring, thinking people, who love our neighbor, not rabid extremists like Santorum.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Tom

      Thank you.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:14 am |
  16. jnpa

    Normal, everyday Catholics are not like Santorum. Maybe he would make a good priest, but not a president. He is way too extreme for today's Catholics. All the Catholics I know ARE in favor of birth control. It is either that or large families they cannot support. They are willing to give a little on their beliefs in order for their families to survive. If you are rich like the Santorums, or the Kennedys, you can have large families and not worry financially, but not the average American. Sorry Mr. Santorum, you are going to lose on that issue!

    March 7, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • imajan

      Excellent explanation, jnpa!

      March 7, 2012 at 6:07 am |
  17. bigfoot

    Half the Catholics in the state voted for a Mormon. If that isn't a political milestone I don't know what is.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • liz48

      If you take the Jewish roots of Jesus and His Words and Will and compare them to catholicism, you will understand that the catholic church is ant-His Will and the Word of God. Jesus came to establish the Will of God expressed in the Torah and the Prophets (the old testament). We are to serve God nor through the law as rules but through our Spirit (the inner man, witness or conscience) that is made alive through the redemption of Jesus from spiritual bondage. So the command of God not to worship statues or make them or have other pagan rites and rituals like easter (worship of a pagan goddess of fertility) is an abomination to God.

      March 7, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • liz48

      catholics are not followers of the Jewish Messiah Jesus. They have a form of religion that claims to follow Him but in essence are an aberration of His Word and Will. If you study the promises of the Messiah in the Bible and His Life and fulfillment of those promises, you will understand that the Old Testament God is Who He honored as His God and Father, while recognizing that He Himself was equal to and One with God.

      The catholics do not honor the commandments of the Father of Jesus – to not worship pagans etc. and they are not part of true followers of Jesus – See John 8:31-32

      March 7, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • Kebos

      There is no god therefore jesus as you define him never existed.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • henry

      Very simple answer to that really "bigfoot".Voting for a Mormon would mean that we are in actually fact not Catholics at all, but only, possibly Catholics in name. In a truly secularized society this should not come as a surprise. The question to ask ourselves is this, what matters most to many, is it moral and sound virtues and principles, based on true faith and sound theology or everything else beneath the skies that is purely materialistic in nature,whatever that may be? God help us all!!

      March 7, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • qirin

      Liz, you obviously know approximately zero about Catholics and their church. They don't worship statues or participate in pagan rituals. A crucifix has the same function as a cross you might wear on a necklace: not an object of worship but a reminder of Christ's message and sacrifice. Catholics revere the entire Bible, Old Testament and all, even some books that Protestants arbitrarily removed after the Reformation, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • shellbelle

      Dang Liz...glad to see ignorance is not dead in your world!!! Sounds like you need to get your facts straight before you post such inaccurate comments. And last time I checked, at my Catholic Easter service, we worship the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and would live eternally with his Father in Heaven giving us Catholics (and all good people of all faiths) the hope that if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus then we too can join our Father...never worshipped any fertility goddess.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:54 am |
  18. Joxer the Mighty

    The Catholics are normal people and would rather vote for a candidate who focuses on the economy, not on birth control.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  19. zooinb

    Even Catholics know the Catholic church ideas are a little off. A mother is not a bad person for using contraceptive.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:26 am |
  20. Ken Oberman

    The mentally ill.... allowed to vote. Spectacular!

    March 7, 2012 at 4:10 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Next entry »
Advertisement
About this blog

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.