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Catholics split on Notre Dame invitation to Obama, poll shows

May 01, 2009

Roughly half of all American Catholics support Notre Dame's decision to honor President Barack Obama at commencement exercises, according to a Pew Forum poll. But the survey found that Catholics who attend Mass regularly were much more likely to object to the Obama appearance.

The Pew poll found that only 48% of Catholics were aware of the controversy generated by Obama's invitation to speak at Notre Dame. Active Catholics were more likely to follow that controversy, and nearly twice as likely to disapprove of the invitation. Pew reports:

Among white Catholics who attend church at least once a week, a plurality (45%) say it was wrong for Notre Dame to invite Obama, while the majority of less-observant Catholics (56%) take the opposite view, saying Notre Dame was right to invite him.

The poll found a similar division in opinions of the Obama presidency, with practicing Catholics far more likely to disapprove of the President's overall job performance. The level of disapproval among active Catholics has doubled since February, Pew reported.


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