Study: Catholic Voters Favor Democrats, Could Help Pro-Abortion Obama

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 25, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study: Catholic Voters Favor Democrats, Could Help Pro-Abortion Obama

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 25
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A new study of Catholic voters conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University shows them leaning more towards the Democratic Party this election. That could be a plus for pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

With more than 47 million potential voters, Catholics are a popular group for outreach efforts of both political parties.

The study included a survey showing Catholic attitudes on social, political and moral issues have shifted during the Bush administration, although it concluded opinions regarding abortion and social justice issues have remained relatively stable.

The poll found a shift of three percent in favor of the pro-abortion position from 2002 to 2006.

But the shift on other political issues could lead more Catholics to support Obama over John McCain, who opposes abortion and has repeatedly voted for sensible limits.

Fewer Catholics self-identify as Republicans in 2008 than in any previous election year since 2000 in CARA polls. Only 21 percent are either strongly or weakly affiliated as a Republican in 2008. By comparison, 31 percent identified as Republican in 2004.

“Overall, these shifting Catholic attitude trends … may favor the Democrats and Obama,” said Mark Gray, director of CARA Catholic Polls.

The Georgetown University study found that Catholics who are more likely to attend church services regularly are more pro-life and more likely to favor Republican candidates. The results mean McCain should focus on turning out these pro-life churchgoing Catholics if he wants to win in November.

Gray pointed out that pro-life outreach effort has been used in the past to help pro-life presidential candidates over pro-abortion ones.

"Even with a clear edge in party identification, Obama and the Democrats will need to do well mobilizing Catholic Democrats to take advantage of this,” Gray said.

"In the past two presidential elections the Republicans have been noted to be more effective at mobilizing voters using religion and religious organizations—often using the issue of abortion," he explained.

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