Catholics Less Likely to Back John Kerry on Abortion, Stem Cell Research
by Steven Ertelt
May 24, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll shows that Catholic voters are less likely to support Catholic candidates, such Sen. John Kerry, who favor abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
A Zogby International poll of 1,388 Roman Catholics in the U.S. shows the likely Democratic presidential nominee getting the support of only 20% of Catholic voters on issues where he disagrees with the position of the church.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who would appoint only judicial nominees who backed the Roe v. Wade decision allowing abortion. Only 16 percent said they would be more likely to support such a candidate.
That opinion is held by both churchgoing Catholics (71% less likely) and Catholics who attend church infrequently (57% less likely).
Despite a recent flip-flop on the issue, Kerry has affirmed that he will only appoint pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of Catholic voters would be less likely to support a candidate, like Kerry, who backs embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of unborn children in their earliest stages of life. Only 23 percent said they would be more likely to back a candidate who favors such destructive research.
Churchgoing Catholics oppose such a candidate by 65 to 13 percent margin, while non-churchgoing Catholic voters are split (37-36) on whether they are less likely to vote for such a candidate.
The poll was commissioned by Associated Television News (ATN) and the O’Leary Report and conducted by Zogby International from a database of Roman Catholic likely voters from identified in previous surveys.
The poll sponsor and pollster disagree on the outcome.
O’Leary Report publisher Brad O’Leary says Bush’s position on issues favorable to Catholics — such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, prayer in schools and favoring traditional marriage — is resulting in an increased share of the Catholic vote.
Some 47 percent of Catholic voters who attend church regularly backed Bush in 2000 — a 10 percent increase from those who supported Bob Dole in 1996.
But pollster John Zogby says there is a split between churchgoing Catholics, who back Bush, and Catholics who attend church less frequently, and support Kerry.
"I am not sure many Catholics will be near enough to a church to hear the Bishops’ message [on voting pro-life]," Zogby said. "Those who do go to mass frequently are mainly already conservative. And, besides, issues like the economy, the war in Iraq, and health care will probably be more important in determining how Catholics — and all Americans — vote."
The poll also showed that John Kerry’s votes on abortion issues in the Senate turn off Catholic voters.
Catholic voters are less likely to support a candidate, like Kerry, who voted against a bill to allow minors to be taken across state lines for abortions to avoid parental involvement laws in their home state.
Some 80 percent of Catholic voters said they wouldn’t support such a candidate. Strong majorities of both churchgoing and non-churchgoing Catholics agreed.
Also, 68 percent of Catholics are less likely to support a Catholic candidate who voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. John Kerry voted against passage of this bill that would provide justice for pregnant women and their unborn children who are victimized in violent crimes.
Only 12 percent said they would be more likely to favor such a candidate.
The poll was conducted April 30 though May 14, 2004 with a margin of error of + 2.7 percentage points.