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White US Catholics move toward GOP, Hispanic Catholics toward Democrats

August 19, 2010

48% of the nation’s Catholics now identify themselves as Democrats, while 43% identify themselves as Republicans, according to a survey released August 19 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. In 2006, 52% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats, while 39% identified themselves as Republicans. White and Hispanic Catholics have become increasingly divided on party affiliation. In 2006, 49% of white Catholics and 63% of Hispanic Catholics called themselves Democrats, while 43% of white Catholics and 30% of Hispanic Catholics called themselves Republicans. Four years later, 41% of white Catholics and 71% of Hispanic Catholics call themselves Democrats, while 50% of white Catholics and 22% of Hispanic Catholics called themselves Republicans Among the survey’s other findings (survey results for Catholics did not differ greatly from Americans overall):

  • only 37% of Catholics believe that churches should express views on political and social issues (vs. 45% in 2006)
  • 64% of Catholics believe it is important for members of Congress to have strong religious beliefs
  • 71% of Catholics believe that religion is losing its influence on public life (vs. 61% a year ago)
  • 62% of Catholics believe that religion is losing its influence on government leaders (vs. 40% a year ago)
  • A year ago, 51% of Catholics said that President Obama-- who was baptized in the United Church of Christ at the age of 27-- is a Christian, while 10% said he is a Muslim and 36% said they did not know. Only 32% of Catholics now say he is Christian, while 18% say he is Muslim and 46% do not know.


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