Catholics Shift Right Under Obama

Ben Smith Contributor
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Since President Obama’s election in 2008, white Catholics have been gradually moving to the right.

On Monday, that shift reached an all-time high with white Catholics breaking toward the Republican Party by a 53-39 margin.

The poll, released on Monday by the Pew Research Center looked at the fading influence of religion on the American public. One of the segments in the poll, has been tracking the political trends of Catholics and other religious groups.

The new margin represents a large shift from from previous polling that showed white Catholics split evenly five years ago and, as the poll’s historical trend shows, most white White Catholics identified with the Democrats by a 57-to-40 margin when polled in 1992.

In addition to white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics have also shifted slightly toward the GOP. The poll shows that in five years, the Hispanic Catholic vote has gone from 79-19, in favor of Democrats, to 67-26. The 13-point drop is a significant drop over a period of five years.

While the historical trends show a slight positive trend overall for Republicans, Democrats still have the advantage in some areas. One of those areas in particular is registered voters.

“Democrats retain a slim lead with Catholic registered voters heading into the upcoming congressional election,” as noted in a report by Aleteia.

The report goes on to demonstrate, through the Pew poll, that while this shift is good for the GOP, registered voters still prefer Democrats 48-44 when asked by Pew. Furthermore, in the last election cycle, Catholics went for President Obama by a 50-48 margin.

Still there is reason to believe that Catholics can flip registered voters before the election. Almost 60 percent of white Catholics believe that the government is too large and provides too many services, according to the Aleteia report.

In addition to big government, many white Catholics see the government as hostile, at 36 percent, a jump of 19 since 2009.