Monday, March 16, 2015

Salon is scratching its collective head about why Democrats are losing the Catholic vote.

Here is the article.

It’s one of the central contradictions of American politics: that there’s no such thing as the “Catholic vote,” yet the Catholics vote still matters.
There’s no “Catholic vote” in terms of Catholics representing an electoral bloc that votes according to what their bishops tell them, or in lockstep with the tenets of their religion. Yet winning Catholic voters has been essential to almost every presidential victory in modern times. And the defection of Catholics voters has played a role in some of the most consequential congressional turnovers in recent history — from 1994 to 2014 — making Catholics the ultimate swing voters. And for Democrats, that could be bad news.
While Catholics have been swing voters since Richard Nixon’s second term, white Catholics are now identifying as Republican by historic margins. According to the most recent polling from the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of white Catholics now favor the GOP, versus 39 percent who favor the Democrats—the largest point spread in the history of the Pew poll. And for the first time, white Catholics are more Republican than the voting group usually considered the ultimate Republicans: white Protestants (a designation that includes both mainline and evangelical Protestants).
These are ominous signs for the Democrats, evincing a new and growing allegiance with the Republican Party that has long-term implications.

It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that Democrats support abortion, oppose religious exemptions on abortion or contraception, have called for crypto-religious tests to exclude faithful Catholics from the Supreme Court, held a convention where delegates booed a resolution in favor of a belief in God, pass resolutions describing Catholic doctrines as a threat to American values, requires that Catholics apostatize in order to become national figures, etc., etc.

Way down at the bottom of the story, there is this:

What does this Tea Party-ization of white Catholics mean for Democrats? On a national level, the Democrats’ weakness among white Catholics is for now largely being compensated for by its strength with Hispanic Catholics, who vote overwhelmingly and increasingly Democratic. While George W. Bush managed to get one-third of the Hispanic vote, McCain got only one-quarter and Romney just one-fifth. This meant that even with the massive defection of white Catholics in 2012, Obama still eked out an overall victory on the Catholic vote by 2 points. But that narrow margin means that Democrats can’t afford to lose any more ground with white Catholics.
Things get more dire at the state level and pose particular challenges to Democratic efforts to win back control of either chamber of Congress. In the 2006 off-year election, the white Catholic vote spilt just about evenly between Democratic and Republican congressional candidates. But by 2010, a yawning 20-point gap opened up that increased to 22 points in 2014.
“The shift in the Catholic vote should really be a wakeup call to the Democrats,” says Krueger. “White Catholics are 18 percent of the electorate and Catholics vote 1 to 2 percentage points above their representation in the overall population. This is a significant voting bloc that now perceives Republicans as being more welcoming to people of faith.”

I thought that the "white vote" didn't matter.

I guess it matters when it matters.




5 comments:

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Martin L. said...

"It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that Democrats support abortion, oppose religious exemptions on abortion or contraception, have called for crypto-religious tests to exclude faithful Catholics from the Supreme Court, held a convention where delegates booed a resolution in favor of a belief in God, pass resolutions describing Catholic doctrines as a threat to American values, requires that Catholics apostatize in order to become national figures, etc., etc."

Peter, I agree those are some of the basic reasons. You forgot that white catholics are afraid of homosexuals and would like their churches expansive public businesses to be exempt from labor laws and taxes.

Don't crow too much about the Catholic vote in general. In 2012 Obama and Biden faced Mitt Romney and the Catholic Paul Ryan. Obama won 50% of the Catholic vote to Romney's 48%, close to their 51% and 47%, respectively, of the overall vote. Catholics as a group voted in favor of Nixon over Humphrey 59% to 33% and Bush over Dukakis 51% to 49%. There doesn't seem to be much of a long term trend.

Tommy J said...

Martin L
Maybe its because white catholics support unfettered access to guns for all citizens or because they support the expanded use of the death penalty or because they favor a massive increase the number of prisons (and prisoners) or they seek to massively reduce government support of the poor?

Tommy J said...

Or maybe its because white catholics want to significantly reduce incremental tax rates for those earning over $500k per year or white catholics want to send ground troops into Iraq again to fight ISIS or white catholics want the U.S. military to launch a preemptive attack on Iran to ensure their nuclear program is literally destroyed or white catholics want to close the southern U.S. border to make sure no more non-white catholics make into this country from Latin America or white catholics want to make sure the war on Christmas is won?

Peter Bradley said...

Martin L wrote:

//Peter, I agree those are some of the basic reasons. You forgot that white catholics are afraid of homosexuals and would like their churches expansive public businesses to be exempt from labor laws and taxes.//

Evidence of fear of homosexuals, please?

But perhaps the redefinition of marriage without a democratic consensus leaves Catholics realizing that they are being frozen out of the public square.

Why should Catholics support their own marginalization?

//Don't crow too much about the Catholic vote in general. In 2012 Obama and Biden faced Mitt Romney and the Catholic Paul Ryan.//

But not the "Catholic Joe Biden"?

The fact that you forget Joe Biden's religion sort of makes the point.

//Obama won 50% of the Catholic vote to Romney's 48%, close to their 51% and 47%, respectively, of the overall vote. //

And as the article points out, Obama would not have won without that vote.

Plus, when you look at the church-attending Catholic vote, it is far more Republican than the all-inclusive Catholic vote.

//Catholics as a group voted in favor of Nixon over Humphrey 59% to 33% and Bush over Dukakis 51% to 49%. There doesn't seem to be much of a long term trend.//

The issue is what happens in the future as the Democrat party becomes more hostile to religion.

Do you think that the Democrat party has not been showing itself to be more secular and more hostile to religion in the last 30 years as the Catholic vote has shifted from predominately Democrat to the swing vote you point to?

 
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