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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 4, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 18
Race trumps religion in presidential preference, Gallup poll says
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Race trumps religion in presidential preference, Gallup poll says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new Gallup poll of U.S. Catholics released May 2 shows that race trumps religion when it comes to preference in the 2012 presidential race.

'Catholics constitute almost one in four voters in the United States today, making their vote an important target for the Obama and the Romney election campaigns,' Frank Newport of Gallup wrote in assessing his poll's findings.

'However, although Catholics as a whole are almost precisely average in their vote choice at this point in the campaign, there are major differences by the ethnicity and religiosity of Catholics that underscore the difficulties of typifying and subsequently targeting an 'average' Catholic voter.'

President Obama is tied with Republican rival Mitt Romney among Catholics as a whole, the new poll says, but when race is taken into consideration, significant differences emerge.

Latino Catholics favor Obama by a margin of 70% to 20%, while white Catholics lean toward Romney 55% to 38%.

Degree of religious commitment also makes a difference in presidential preference, the Gallup poll showed.

Catholics who described themselves as 'devout' favored Romney 62% to 32%, while less religious Catholics support Obama by a 54% to 40% margin.

Obama narrowly carried the Catholic vote in 2008, despite being pro-choice.

While the Catholic hierarchy has always been strongly opposed to contraception and abortion, it has mounted a particularly strident campaign against implementation of the president's Affordable Care Act, denouncing the administration for a requirement that health care plans offered by church-affiliated universities and hospitals offer coverage of contraception.

Although the administration offered a compromise, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria compared the president to Hitler and Stalin, and pro-choice Catholic politicians to Judas.

According to Gallup, 'results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking April 11-30, 2012, with a random sample of 1,915 Catholic registered voters, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.'

The margin of error for this poll is plus or minus 3%.

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