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US Catholics back bishops on religious freedom, but still favor Obama, poll shows

Catholic World News - August 02, 2012

American Catholics generally agree with their bishops regarding the threats to religious freedom, a new Pew Forum poll shows.

However, despite tensions between the US hierarchy and the Obama administration on questions of religious freedom and on social issues, the poll finds that a slim majority of Catholics prefer President Obama’s stand on issues such as abortion and homomsexuality. While 51% of those surveyed preferred Obama’s position on social issues, only 34% preferred the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

The Pew Forum poll found that American Catholics agree with their bishops, by a 56-36% margin, on the threat to religious freedom. In the overall American population, including both Catholics and non-Catholics, only 41% agree with the Catholic bishops, and 47% disagree.

The survey found 51% of self-identified Catholics favored Obama in the presidential race, and 42% favored Romney. When the sample was restricted to white non-Hispanic voters, however, the results were quite different, with Romney leading Obama by 47-44%.

The Pew survey showed marked differences in opinion between Catholics who attend Mass and regularly and those who do not. Active Catholics were far more likely to support the bishops’ drive to preserve religious freedom, more likely to favor Romney’s stand on social issues, and more likely to plan a vote for Romney.

Among Catholics who support the bishops on the religious-freedom issue, for example, 60% plan a vote for Romney, and only 34% for Obama. Among those who disagree with the bishops on religious freedom, only 19% favor Romney, and an overwhelming 78% back Obama.

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Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: impossible - Aug. 03, 2012 2:34 PM ET USA

    Obviously, in American presidential politics especially, the old axiom that "Actions speak louder than words" doesn't apply, because the ill-informed, ill-catechized amoralists remain guided by facile speech rather than the destructive actions of Obama and his crew of faux Catholics.

  • Posted by: Defender - Aug. 03, 2012 12:41 PM ET USA

    Romney has not done a good job in conveying what he believes to the American public. Anymore, if it isn't on TV, people don't know. No one reads anymore....

  • Posted by: dagbat - Aug. 03, 2012 1:07 AM ET USA

    The Bishops need to continue to firmly communicate their grave concerns about Mr. Obama and his administration. It may take awhile for some Catholics to fully get the message but if they hear it enough times eventually they will.

  • Posted by: aclune9083 - Aug. 02, 2012 10:35 PM ET USA

    At the risk of preaching to the choir, but in the hopes of saving at least one soul, please remember that we cannot remain faithful to Christ if we cooperate materially with intrinsic evil, such as by voting for politicians (like Obama), who seek to justify intrinsic evils like contraception, abortion and homosexuality, among other disordered activity, on grounds of "subsidiarity" or modernistic dismissal of eternal, God-given moral truths. Christ stated he will deny all such before God.

  • Posted by: the.dymeks9646 - Aug. 02, 2012 10:10 PM ET USA

    The glimmer of hope here is that practicing Catholics are NOT inclined to favor Obama and his policies. It proves the benefits of proper formation and a call of duty to bring them in.

  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 02, 2012 9:04 PM ET USA

    One can never go wrong by underestimating the intelligence of the American laity. They continue to allow their votes to be bought with their own tax dollars in the name of "governmental social justice".

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Aug. 02, 2012 6:42 PM ET USA

    I don't see how anyone Catholic or otherwise could support religious freedom and Obama at the same time. As far as professed Catholics go this just shows how deep the ignorance of the Faith actually is amongst so many. I would say Obama is probably the least friendly towards religion of any president in this nations history.

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