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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. uncle buck

    it's rather simple. do you vote for someone in a cult or a fellow christian? really shows where you're at with God when you vote for a non christian.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Peter

      Wake up! The oldest and biggest cult in History is Christianity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • james

      Those Lutheran and evangelical cults can be so annoying and preachy; they get to decide who is Christian and who isn't.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • momoya

      You've hit on an important detail, there, uncle buck.. Each christian feels free to follow his own opinion because each christian follows his own imagination of who god is and because each christian follows his own projection of what god wants.. Christians have no way to verify if their opinion is what god would want or not–that's why there's half a billion different denominations and "nondenominations" and none of them can claim that they are more correct than any other

      You see, you shouldn't be surprised at all; you should expect such diverse surety–it's the same diverse surety you see in the various shades of christian believers.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Aezel

      And your posts really show where you're at on an IQ exam.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • jimtanker

      All of xtianity is a cult that worships human sacrifice. Some, like catholics, even engage in canibalistic rituals.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • sarah

      Santorum is the kid that told his father to reject the prodigal son. No one likes that guy.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Primewonk

      Sounds like many of you are in favor of applying a religious test to candidates for President.

      Since we are not a christian nation, why would it matter which version of your god a candidate worships or doesn't worship?

      Or is Article VI, Section 3 of the const.itution worthless?

      March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Ivy

      For the 1,000,000th time, Romney is a Christian, the Mormon Church follows Christ. Or where you talking about Santorum? He is certainly a cultist, with his 15th Century ideology (no, theology) about culture, society, and women.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • *facepalm*

      As an atheist, I find it both amusing and baffling that other christians want to keep mormons out of the club. Apparently, drinking blood is far more normal than magic underwear. Who knew?

      March 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Me

      Did God give you a brain?

      March 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  2. james

    How did the Jews vote? What about the Protestants? Did Muslims throw their vote to Mitt?

    Or is this just another leftist CNN attack on Catholics?

    March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Aezel

      If you're too much of a herp derp to understand why it's more interesting to see that Catholics didn't vote for a member of their own church you can just go play in the sandbox with the rest of the juvenile dips**ts. Don't forget your juice box and plastic shovel.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • sarah

      How is it an attack on Catholics? They saw through Santorum. Big deal.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • William Demuth

      james

      Your persecution complex is showing.

      Perhaps a reminder. It is Christians that persecute, not that are persecuted!

      Silly Goose!

      March 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  3. momoya

    I am amazed and horrified at Santorum's relative success.. I had no idea the US had that many brainwashed religious nuts.. It's pretty depressing..

    March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  4. Leigh

    Memo to Santorum: STFU about your strong desire to control all women's bodies, fool. This ain't the 14th century, much as you would prefer it to be.

    Love and kisses, a fellow Catholic who finds YOU vomit-worthy

    March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  5. Jeff

    Fact is the catholic church has done so much to alienate its members... Anti-Invetro Fertilization, Anti-Contraception, Anti-Stem Cell Research, Anti-womens right to choose... Pretty much anti-advancement of society.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  6. Catholics

    Lots are with Santorum, is wonderful.
    Glory to Jesus.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • William Demuth

      What of Satan?

      Is he with Santorum as well?

      March 7, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  7. MyWord

    The evangelicals went for Santorum who claim to be a Christian; you can not be a Christian until you choose to be one. They are believing a deception.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  8. Nick

    Both the Democrats and Republicans are not giving Mitt Romney any credit for his wins. When he won Michigan it was not good enough and now he has won Ohio it is still not good enough because the difference was razor thin. Democrats are worried that he might defeat Obama so they want to downplay Mitt Romney' wins and Republicans want a purist conservative candidate who they see in Santorum so they want to down play Mitt Romneys wins too. Conservatives don't realize that Rick Santorum will chase the moderate Republicans and independents away.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • jimtanker

      None of these republitards have a chance against President Obama. After everthing that Obama has done for our country to include creating jobs, thereby lowering the unemployment rate and leveling out the economy. He has also raised our standing in the world.

      The last thing that we need is another borderline retard in office like we had from 2000 to 2008.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • sarah

      Romney could beat Obama. But I doubt Santorum could.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  9. Nigel Goddard

    Perhaps Santorum is true to his faith's traditions, but people who follow Christ's teachings on love and peace may wonder why Santorum would be so gung-ho for a US war in Iran. I don't remember reading that Christ advocated war with anyone. In fact, Christ mentioned that you should love your enemies. By Santorum advocating war with Iran it seems that he is inconsistant with Christ's teachings about love and how to deal with enemies.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  10. iceload9

    When faced with a decision Catholics will go with common sense over vitriol.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • DidMyResearch

      You are a bigot. Clearly, as the story says, Catholic voters repudiated that view. Wake up and see the light that most Catholics see: that the old men running the show are preaching to each other.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • DidMyResearch

      Ops! Apology - read your sentence backwards.

      Fully agree with you.

      My bad.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • sarah

      Catholics are taught that they are imperfect. That everyone is a sinner and that to be righteous, they must give up all worldly goods on earth which most will not do. They do not believe that they will be rewarded on Earth. Rick does not come across that humble and seems to be the exact opposite.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  11. DDanny1

    That contraception issue not working out for Santorum is it. Let me give you a hint Rick, when the Catholic Church (I am one by the way) claim they believe in contraception but wouldn't DARE EVEN THINK of telling Catholic women they can not use contraceptives and be good Catholics that should have told you something. If Catholic women had to go to confession on Saturday if they took contraception during the week they would have to staff the confessional 24 hours a day and move Sunday mass to Wednesday.
    Isn't it ironic that the Catholic candidate gets hosed by the Catholic's church's hypocrisy and gets beat by the guy who follows the teachings of a 19th century con man?

    March 7, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • sarah

      The Catholic church wouldn't dare throw these people out of their Church. They would lose most of their congregation and their money. Not only that, but Catholics are taught that they are imperfect and will always be imperfect.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  12. uncle buck

    a disgrace that the catholic chuch is so lukewarm that they can't unite to a fellow christian. leadership is weak.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Mary

      What a stupid uniformed ridiculous thing to say!!! You are just a HATER of Catholics. This guy is NO LEADER – he's a narcissitic idiot who does NOT represent CATHOLICs by ANY MEANS. Actually, True Catholics are behind Obama as he is a REAL Christian – a REAL good person who cares.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Bill Turner

      Mitt Romney is the most religious of the group. He was the spiritual leader of thousands of Christians in Mass for the Church of Jesus Christ. What the heck are you talking about?

      March 7, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • KMW

      Mary,

      You are wrong. A true Catholic would never vote for Obama. By the way Mary, what is a true Catholic? I am Catholic and would love to know as I am sure many other Catholics would also.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • jimtanker

      No true Scotsman falacy.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Bill Turner

      You really shoud get out more. The only reason Romney has not run away with the nomination is because of so called "Christians" who have no idea about what it means to be Christian. The Church of Jesus Christ (which Romney is a member of) is Christian!

      March 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Primewonk

      We are supposed to be electing a person to be President of the United States – the leader of 300 million Americans. We are not electing a Catholic leader. Or a Mormon Leader. Or a Baptist leader. Or a Lutheran leader.

      Since we are neither a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation, or a Wiccan nation, the religious affiliation of any elected official should be irrelevant.

      And you wonder why the civilized world laughs at us?

      March 7, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  13. J.W

    I have a question. Why does it matter whether the president is pro-life or not, when you know that Roe v. Wade will not be overturned even if we had a Republican president and the Republicans had full control of the House and Senate?

    March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Doug

      Agreed. Another thing I love is people saying they want to repeal ObamaCare. Do they understand you need 66% of the vote in both the House and the Senate AND a signature from the President to repeal a law? It's not happening.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Doug

      I think the legal term is stare decisis. No judge will touch it with a 10 foot poll (except Scalia 🙂

      March 7, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Alex

      Because it helps to fish for votes.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • J.W

      Yeah I do not know all of the specifics on ObamaCare. I do think we would be better off if everyone did have health insurance, but I dunno maybe there are specifics buried in there that arent good. I think the overall idea is good, they maybe should have come to a bipartisan agreement on it

      March 7, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • J.W

      I was hoping that some of the pro-life people on here would respond to this. I consider myself pro-life, but it would be more harmful for it to be illegal.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Patrick

      Doug,
      You are incorrect. All that is needed to repeal Obamacare is a simple majority of both houses and the signature of the President. You could argue that you need 60 votes in the Senate to get closure but the actual vote required to pass the repeal is simply 50 since the tie breaking vote would go to the Vice President. I think a refresher course in civics may be in order.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  14. Christina

    I'm glad to see even among his own Santorum does not have their support because they realize that he is focusing on the wrong things. Not to mention really reminding people that he is an unfit candidate because he does not respect the separation of church and state.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  15. Squeezebox

    A lot of "Catholics" aren't really Catholic at all. Some of them are the "twice a year Catholics" who are wasting their time and ours in church if they won't take it seriously. Others are "cafeteria Catholics" who should join other denominations such as the Episcopalians instead. Don't call yourself Catholic if you don't obey the church!

    March 7, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Doug

      Or just say screw it all and be an atheist like me. It's wonderful having godless Sundays where I play golf, take a run, or lay in bed to watch the political fodder...

      March 7, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • DDanny1

      If they do as you suggest are you OK with belonging to a religion that could have Midnight Mass in a two car garage?

      March 7, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • A really really real true Catholic

      Pretty much everyone is a cafeteria catholic. Think evolution is how we got here? You must not be a true Catholic. Better alert all of the Catholic school that teach this – they're raising a bunch of heretics! Support gay marriage (nearly half of american catholics)? You're not a real Catholic. Support birth control (90+% of american catholics)? You're not a real Catholic.

      If you limited access to only those who follow every teaching exactly, you'd have some awfully lonely Sundays. But if you enjoy feeling superior to others, that would probably work out well for you.

      Also, when you get the chance, google the no true scottsman fallacy to stop making an ass out of yourself.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Aezel

      So suddenly Santorum speaks for the church? Voting for him is "obeying the church." Sorry, you're a dumba**.

      98% of Catholic women use contraception. If Catholics that didn't obey the church stopped being Catholic the Catholic Church wouldn't exist. This would be fine by me but your statement is still asinine.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • SkepticalOne

      Blindly following the leadership of the church doesn't make you a better Catholic, it makes you a fool.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  16. midwestmatt

    Wait...the Catholic voter is not one bloc, never deviating from the demands of the Church? Huh, didn't see that one coming.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Doug

      I know it's shocking. People don't actually 'believe' what the church teaches. It's just a social club on the weekends...

      March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  17. Butterfly

    Cat and Dogs Living Together, mass hysteria. Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    March 7, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  18. D.C.Buchthal

    John Green is supposedly from the University of Ohio? What university is that? Ohio State University? Ohio University? or the University of Akron?

    March 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  19. catholic engineer

    Had the Catholic church pandered to the latest cultural waves and zeitgeists throughout history, it would have expired as all of them have done. The Church always outlasts it's enemies and is usually there to bury them.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Doug

      The one thing I like about the Catholic church is that they admit they are wrong when they are. Geocentrism, slavery, evolution, etc...

      March 7, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Butterfly

      Just because someone is a Catcholic does not mean they blindly vote for a Catholic. that would be very shallow and stupid. Hey Santorum loves to build model airplanes so all the model airplane lovers should vote for him regardless of where Santorum stands on the important issues. right? No, not right.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • DDanny1

      WHAT? Have you READ the Saint James Bible? Claiming Pope's are channeling God yet still runs everything by the College of Cardinals kind of negates your argument doesn't it? God is infallible except for the stuff that was the "Word of the Lord" that had to be changed, and the Lord speaks through the Pope except when the College of Cardinals disagree with what he says? Is that how it works?
      Starts to make dictating the word of God by looking at magic stones in a hat sound pretty logical.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • DDanny1

      WHAT? Have you READ the Saint James Bible? God is infallible except for the stuff that was the "Word of the Lord" that had to be changed, and the Lord speaks through the Pope except when the College of Cardinals disagree with what he says? Is that how it works?
      Starts to make dictating the word of God by looking at magic stones in a hat sound pretty logical.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • William Demuth

      catholic engineer

      Apollo took the same position

      So did Zoroastor

      March 7, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  20. Last Call

    @sarah Everyone has a choice to make. You are not born a Catholic. Your parents may bring you up that way, but you make the choice when you're of age to stay or walk away. If you stay, you're a hypocrit if you don't practice it.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Last Call
      I can't agree that Sarah is a hypocrite. Martin Luther supposedly said," The Catholic church is the hardest to live by, but the easiest to die by." We Catholics have all the hard teachings and good catholics are always having to weigh things out. The culture at large? These people typically take the easy way out and call themselves broad-minded.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • J.W

      So you cannot go to the church but yet disagree with one of its teachings? Maybe it is the church itself that needs to change, not its members.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • A really really real true Catholic

      @JW

      the church is never ever ever wrong, which is why no one should ever disagree with a thing that the church teaches. That's why I still think the earth is the center of the universe, the crusades were a noble cause (all of them), and buying indulgences is going to fast-track me to heaven.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:33 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.