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Catholics Continue to Swing

Last week the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a new analysis of trend in political party identification by various religious communities. The overall finding is that, between 2008 and 2010, Republicans made significant gains among all religious groups, with the largest gains coming among White Catholics (+8 percent points), Jews (+9 points), and Mormons (+12 points). Among all Catholics, Republican affiliation increased by 6 percentage points.partyid-2It is interesting to note, however, that Catholics overall are still more likely to say they lean toward the Democrats (48%) than toward Republicans (43%), despite the 49%/42% advantage that the Republicans enjoy among White Catholics. Although the data on the Pew web site do not break out other ethnic groups among Catholics, my surmise is that the views of Hispanic Catholics (who tend to lean Democratic) are the reason for this difference.

The Republican advantage among White Catholics is particularly pronounced among those under 30. There is a 14 point gap between White Catholics under 30 who identify as Republicans (54%) and those who identify as Democrats (40%). However, the numbers were almost exactly reversed (41% Rep/51% Dem) four years ago and the margin of error for this subpopulation is somewhat large.The key question, of course, is what is driving both the absolute differences and the changes. Given that the Republicans have gained among every religious groupeven among relatively liberal Jews and mainline Protestantsmy guess is that the cause is not deeply tied to issues related to religious identity or the culture war. The fact that the largest swings between 2008 and 2012 are among younger voters suggests that reduced economic opportunities for this cohort may be driving most of the dissatisfaction with the Democrats.Nevertheless, the Democrats would be advised to pay close attention to these numbers. While White Catholics are a decreasing share of the overall Catholic population, they remain a strong force in several key swing states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. President Obamas weakness among many of these voters may or may not be deeply tied to their religious views, but it is a connection he ignores at his peril.

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For a moment I thought this would be about the hanging of Catholics in a new wave of persecution of their religious freedom.

Nevertheless, the Democrats would be advised to pay close attention to these numbers.__________What should the Republicans be advised to pay close attention to with respect to these numbers? That they are doing something right, that they are doing a better job appealing to Catholics and should keep doing it?

Letter from ACLU: Windows LiveHotmail (4) Messenger (0) SkyDrive MSN Joseph O'Learyprofile | sign outHotmail Inbox (5) Folders Junk (102)Drafts (62)Sent Deleted (30)Argentina Atsu (12)Australia Boston (3)Britain (2)China Disqus (228)Europe (2)Expats in Japan (1)Family (3)India Ireland (1)Irish in Japan (7)James Japan (2)New York Paris (3)Russia Sophia (8)Surlis USA (17)New folder Quick views FlaggedOffice docs (2)Photos (1)New category Messenger 6 invitations Want to chat via Messenger from your inbox? Just add friends. Sign out of Messenger HomeContactsCalendar New|ReplyReply allForward|DeleteJunkSweep Mark as Move to Categories | Options |Back to messagesReligious freedom or discrimination?Newsletters | 9:11 AM Lobbying groups led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are trying to use religion to discriminate and deny millions of women urgently needed access to birth control. Anti-choice forces around the country are yelling from the rooftops about religious freedom. But what they actually mean is the use of religion to discriminate and deny millions of women access to birth control. Now anti-family planning politicians in Congress are getting in on the action and trying to reverse the President's critical decision, which would ensure access to birth control for millions of women. We must stand with President Obama believe me, he's hearing from the other side, starting with Speaker Boehner who has pledged to reverse this rule. Tell your members of Congress: Stand up to right-wing efforts to use religion to discriminate and deny millions of women urgently needed access to birth control. Let's be clear. The current law does not require religious institutions like churches or synagogues to include birth control in their employee's health insurance. But, when lobbying groups led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops insisted that the exemption be expanded to include religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and other institutions, jeopardizing coverage for millions of women, the Obama administration drew a line in the sand. If the lobbying groups get their way, a woman teaching at a Catholic university could not get coverage. Or, a nurse working at an evangelical Christian hospital could be denied access to basic health care. Tell Congress to stand with the President and American women. Anti-choice forces are screaming that the Obama administration's efforts to protect women's access to birth control are part of a "war on religion." This explosive accusation is untrue but their hope is that if they repeat it often enough, they can get Congress to roll back our rights. We can't let that happen. Religious freedom is about protecting people of all faiths, not imposing the values of some on the rest of us.

oops, ignore my email page.

The question needs to be taken seriously: Is the Catholic Church fundamentally opposed to civil liberties?

I think this is being analyzed to death. What's the point - except to carry on one never-ending cell-phone conversation?

Unfortunately, the Catholic hierarchy worldwide has a terrible record when it comes to defense of civil liberties. If they succeeded in scaring Obama into stepping back on this issue, which directly involves the health care of many women, the image of Catholicism would be further tainted.

Interesting, but I'd want to know more about the poll -- things like what it means to say you "lean". Are we sure this is telling us much more than the top-line political news from 2008-2011: that the Dems won an enthusiastic victory at the beginning and got a serious mid-term black eye at the end? The penny in the slot analysis of that result was that it was driven by current events (the bad economy) rather than by seismic movements of long term party affiliation.

I also thought it interesting that between 2008 and 2011, the Republican advantage among White Catholics who attend religious services weekly increased by 7% (to 52%). Even more interesting is that there was a 9% gain (to 47%) among White Catholics who attend religious services on a less frequent basis.

Catholic leaning will be most effected by who the GOP candidate is and the trend of economic good news = employment. GDP, market.. if trending is still favorable Obama a cinch... if not... a tossup..

I fully expect Jews to come swarming over to the Republicans if Santorum gets the nomination. After all, he is clearly good for the Jews:http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/02/08/happy_hanukkah_from_rick_sa...