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Poll: Catholics oppose Notre Dame honor for Obama by 60%-25% margin

May 08, 2009

A telephone survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports has found that 52% of Americans-- and 60% of Catholics-- believe that the University of Notre Dame should not have made the decision to award President Barack Obama an honorary degree.

The Rasmussen Reports survey results are markedly different from an earlier survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. The Pew Forum survey found that Catholics, by a margin of 50% to 28%, supported the university’s decision.

The varied results may be attributable to the different poll questions. Rasmussen Reports told survey respondents that the university was violating the US bishops’ guidelines:

Guidelines established by U.S. bishops state that Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame should not honor people whose actions conflict with the church's moral principles. Given these guidelines, should Notre Dame award President Obama an honorary degree?

The Pew Forum, on the other hand, simply asked, “Do you think it was right or wrong for Notre Dame to invite Obama to give their graduation speech and receive an honorary degree?”


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