Obama Faces Hard Times with Catholic Voters

When Barack Obama won 54 percent of the Catholic vote in the 2008 presidential election, commentators barely noticed that John McCain won a majority of the religiously-active Catholic vote (51 percent to 49 percent). This was a small margin, to be sure, but it doesn’t bode well for the 2012 presidential race, after all the worst predictions of Obama’s support for abortion became reality.

Religiously-active Catholics are those who report attending Mass at least once a week. Weekly attendance at religious services is the accepted definition of a religiously-active voter in any faith tradition. Studies of exit polls going back to the ’60s tell the story of how these Catholic voters lost their loyalty to the Democratic Party, becoming either reliable Republicans or swing voters with a preference for socially conservative candidates, e.g. the “Reagan Democrats.”

The Obama Catholic surrogate machine was in full swing throughout the last campaign and well into his administration. Even when concerns were voiced by Catholics regarding Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend came to his defense in the pages of Newsweek before Obama’s first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI by writing, “Notre Dame awarded the president an honorary degree because it saw the need to highlight the best of Catholic teaching as applied to politics: the ability to open the eyes of those who would prefer to keep them closed, and to open the hearts of those who would prefer not to know the pain that their actions cause. The pope has a lot to learn about Catholic politics in America. Barack Obama can teach him.” (Note Ms. Kennedy Townsend did not capitalize “Pope”.)

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