Poll on Notre Dame: Good news, bad news

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Which is which may depend onwhere you stand on this divisive issue. A new survey from the Pew Forum (main graf at right) shows that Catholics in general approve of Notre Dame's decision to invite and honor Obama at commencement by a nearly 2-1 margin--good news if you support the UND invitation.But foes of the move may be pleased that weekly mass attenders disapprove by 45-37. (And they almost mirror white evangelicals.)Interestingly, when asking just Catholics who have heard of the controversy, support for Notre Dame's decision goes up to 54 percent, but opposition also gains, to 38 percent.What I think is actually most striking is how many Catholics are following the issue--overhalf (52 percent) have heard a lot or at least a little, which is not inconsequential for any story, and especially one that has received relatively little play in the secular press.On the other hand, just 19 percent have heard "a lot" about it, which makes you wonder what the numbers would be if the Catholic public were better and more deeply informed.In general, Obama's standing among Catholics remains high, as with the general public, though he is on increasingly shaky ground with regular massgoers.Views on abortion and stem cell research, meanwhile, tend to mirror the general public, as has been the case.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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