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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

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soundoff (966 Responses)
  1. Zzz

    Is this really surprise? The majority of Catholics do not practice Santorum's brand of extreme religion, and understand there are actual problems that need dealt with – not red herring issues like birth control and gay marriage. Just because a person is a member of a group does not mean that person is a good representation of the group or that the group will necessarily support him. We are not electing a pope, and there is nothing in Catholic teaching that says voting for a non-Catholic is wrong.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  2. Rosslaw

    A rousing endorsement for the common sense of American Catholics. Santorum has the cassock wearing, red slipper with pointy toes crowd firmly in his corner but lay Catholics don't leave those guys alone in a room with small children anymore or vote their way. It shouldn't be surprising that few people outside of Santorum and the pope think that the 13th century really has all that much to offer.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  3. flipper town 6000

    Why is it a suprise that Catholics did not vote Catholic Santorum? The media must think that most people are blind sheep and simply vote for someone just because they are the same haircut as them or that they have the same type of car or that they have the same faith. There are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay other issues to consider than those trivial, shallow, unimportant traits.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  4. Colin

    Ten signs you are a Catholic.

    1. You believe that the pope has personal communications with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when he elects to speak “from the chair” on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. geocentricity, immaculate conception, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.

    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and heralding the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.

    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.

    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does it make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their various life-after-death lands (limbo, purgatory, heaven, hell) with magic-sacred powers of some kind.

    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your own Iron Age mythology.

    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.

    7. You criticize gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Abraham, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of kings to save his own skin.

    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Iron Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over grocery store bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus, because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” if you prefer the more euphemistic term).

    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten.

    March 7, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • flipper town 6000

      Did someone just fart in here?

      March 7, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • just sayin

      President George H W Bush said an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of this country. Need proof? Look at the useless drivel just posted above.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • holly

      Wow, are you full of hate.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • MK

      Aside from this being off the topic of the story, coming from a former Catholic, this list is right on.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • blondie

      Thanks for the above. Glad you are a thinker. People need to think more. But sadly, like sheep, they just baaaaaa and baaaaaaaa and baaaaaa their rediculous beliefs in their wierd christain mythology.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Zzz

      Wow, that's a log of negativity. I'm not a Catholic, but similar lists could be made about any group with extreme elements – which means any group. If you are actually interested in the issues you raised, I would suggest talking to a theologian – not necessarily a local priest, but maybe a professor at a local seminary who can offer constructive insight into your questions.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • SouthernCelt

      I believe it was Abraham Lincoln that said " Keep you mouth closed and people will only think you are stupid, If you open your mouth you will remove all doubt". Learn something about what the Church teaches instead of what individual sinners do. Better than you have attacked the Church over the millennia and the Church is still here.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, i see just sayin' is still talking like a mouthy little b.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • A Catholic

      Colin, you do an excellent job of providing a blanket stereotype with "10 signs you are a Catholic." I am a Catholic and do not believe in the vast majority of what you have posted above. To make a blanket statement for what Catholics, or people of any faith, believe as a whole, is short sighted. It is fine to debate the Catholic faith, but do it in a manner that is beyond skewed stereotypes and ignorance.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • blondie

      The "church" if you want to call it that, is still here because over the centuries you would be executed if you didn't go along. C'mon the POPE is joke. The catholic church is a duplicitous cover up for the unthinking masses. Christians are goverened by a for profit monster, under the guise of something good, under the fear fist of burning in hell if you don't do exactly what they say. Get A LIFE!

      March 7, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • MC

      I think you must be confused.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • KMW

      The wonderful thing about religiion in the USA is you can believe or not believe. I believe in the Roman Catholic Church; and if people who are Catholic do not agree with the Church, they can become Baptist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, etc. They have a more liberal view and in my opionin, are less rewarding from my experience. I love my Catholic faith and will be Catholic forever.

      March 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Sashatree

      FANTASTIC POST!!!! THANK YOU!!!! (Signed, A "Recovering Catholic")

      March 7, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Yo!

      "President George H W Bush said an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of this country. Need proof? Look at the useless drivel just posted above."

      You're quoting a guy that ruin this country and drove it into the ground. You're an idiot.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • ignatz

      Ten straw men in a row. How nice.

      March 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  5. UNITED WE FALL DIVIDED WE STAND

    Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic traitor got IMPEACHED! Hahahahaha! So long moron!

    March 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • uhm . . .

      I don't think you understand the difference between losing an election and impeachment. Maybe go back and review your high school civics notes? Kucinich consistently stuck to his beliefs, which is more than I can say for most politicians. While I didn't always agree with him, he is hardly a traitor.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  6. Dan586

    THIS MEANS REPUBLICAN VOTERS CAN NO LONGER RUN AROUND SCREAMING THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NATION ! And get off the God is against abortions because when you vote for a Mormon you throw all your credibility out the window

    March 7, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Fairplay99

      Oh you silly goose

      March 7, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • David Forthoffer

      So you think The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints is not Christian???
      A church can be Christian without following the letter of the Nicene Creed—by acknowledging God and Jesus Christ at the head of the Church and the influence of the Holy Spirit, and putting Jesus' teachings into practice as the dominant teachings of the church.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • abinadi

      Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is a Christian religion and teaches against abortion except where the mother's life is in danger or inc est or ra pe. Our beliefs are as follows:

      “We believe in God the eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
      “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
      “We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
      “We believe that the first principle[s] and ordinances of the Gospel are: (1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Repentance; (3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; (4) Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
      “We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy and by the laying on hands, by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
      “We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive Church, viz: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
      “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.
      “We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
      “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
      “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this [the American] continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
      “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the di ctates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
      “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying[,] honoring, and sustaining the law.
      “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, ‘We believe all thing[s], we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
      “Respectfully, &c., Joseph Smith”
      Anyone who would like to know more about the church can go to mormon.org.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  7. mat

    In the United States there are so many real Catholics, totally with Jesus and his Church.
    There are also some false Catholics, as everywhere.
    Glory to Jesus.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  8. Reality

    The Catholics not only in Ohio are starting to see the light of history and rational thinking.

    To wit:

    (Based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (References used are available upon request)

    March 7, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Pope_Inquisitor

      agree – all myth blown out of proportion. No unicorns or dragons, gods or devils. Read "God's Jury" by Murphy. Good read

      March 7, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • .....

      Reality does not think its own thought, just a copy paste of someone else work. Hit report abuse on every reality post

      March 7, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  9. Pope_Inquisitor

    Catholics are sick. socially dangerous. Centuries of torture, guilt, inquisitions, bureaucracy have created a sick cult. Santorum is SO delusional. There are no deities, demons, or angels or saints or dragons or unicorns. It's all myth. God is pretend.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • David Mann

      Don't forget centuries of rampant pedophilia in the clergy, followed by cover-ups going all the way to the Vatican

      March 7, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • blondie

      God is pretend! I love it.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  10. Dan586

    Just goe's to show Catholic's and religion are more phoney than politicians. You can't go around screaming this is a Christian Nation then vote for a Mormon.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And why not?
      Mormons may not be Catholic, but since they worship Christ and accept His divinity, they are Christians.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  11. dogs rule

    Religion does not belong in politics. Last I heard, there's separation of church and state in this country. If you're running for public office, religious issues have to stay private!

    March 7, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Richard

      Tell that to the republicans!!!!

      March 7, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There is no such separation in Santorum's world.
      He has stated publically that JFK's famous speech about keeping his faith out of his role as president made him "want to throw up".

      March 7, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  12. mat

    Ahahaha.....
    "Excellent" anti-Catholic article.
    But some believe the polls?......
    And how many untruths in the comments....

    March 7, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  13. David

    Rick, this is what you get for cracking on JFK, the one who paved the way for you and other Catholic politicians. Way to go.....fell on your sword again!

    March 7, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  14. JiminTX

    Only the poor, uneducated, or mentally unbalanced actually believe in and make wishes to the Invisible Sky Friend.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Alyssa

      Well, no, there are plenty of educated and perfectly sane people who believe in God, though as an atheist it doesn't make much sense to me. It's sort of like how educated people can be both Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fans. It's not about intellectual analysis, it's about feeling. It's unfair to characterize people of faith as stupid or insane, even if I don't agree with it.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  15. AGuest9

    Nice to see that the country still thinks of its separation.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • dogs rule

      Name just one...........

      March 7, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • another repentant sinner

      Prayer changed my life. I once lived only to please myself now it is my goal to please God.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • blondie

      I pray I don't vomit everytime I read some born again christian bleating on about jesus as their savior.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • sam stone

      another repentant sinner: do you find pleasure in "pleasing god"?

      March 7, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  17. Jesus

    Rick Santorum is "traditional Catholic" like the Inquisition is "traditional Catholic", THAT'S why. The people have the Church for matters of Faith; the People have the Government for matters of State. FIGURE. IT. OUT!!!!!!!! Daddammit.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  18. Terry

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if Gingrich and Paul get out of the race. The numbers could be far different if they get out. This could be the ploy of the GOP Leadership. Keep Gingrich and Paul in the race to prevent Santorum from running over Romney, which could create a real mess at the GOP Convention.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  19. Observer

    Too bad. Though we'll ultimately have Romney as the GOP nominee, I'd like to see him a bit more weakened and exposed. Hopefully Santorum and Gingrich can hang on for another month or two.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • HPNIII

      Santorum is a religious nut and scares the hell out of me. I do not wish to have his religious views rammed down my throat.

      March 7, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Ronald Reganzo

      hpn3
      Go with what you usually get rammed down your throat then.

      March 7, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  20. Me 3

    Do the math. Romney got 453,927 votes in Ohio. The 2010 census shows 8,805,753 people of voting age in Ohio from the 2010 census. Romney votes represent about 5% of the voting age population. Santorum did about the same. Last night says nothing, just as Bachmann buying votes in Iowa and getting less than she paid for says.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:36 am |
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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.