Does Obama Have a Catholic Problem?
A provocative headline, to be sure, but I was looking at some exit poll data tonight and noticed how Obama was performing significantly lower among Catholic Democrats than among Democrats generally. Obviously there are a lot of other factors at work here–race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc.–but the results were still interesting:
All Data from CNN Exit Polls
State/Obama’s Share of Catholic Democrats/Obama’s Total Share of Democrats
CT 39 (47)
NJ 28 (44)
NY 30 (40)
DE 35 (53)
IL 48 (65)
Again, this is a complicated issue and it’s been clear for some time that it is very hard to speak of a cohesive “Catholic” vote among the electorate. But the fact that Obama did much more poorly with Catholic Dems relative to all Democrats in states that he won like DE, CT, and even his home state of IL is interesting.
Many are skeptical of the idea that, given the diversity of American Catholics, that there is any distinct message that will appeal to us. I think that’s probably right. But I remember back in 2000 and the early years of the Bush Administration how deliberate he was in trying to invoke certain Catholic themes (remember the Dorothy Day reference?).
Any thoughts? As for me, it’s time I turned in.