Loading
Analyst: Obama could lose Catholic vote over HHS mandate
Analyst: Obama could lose Catholic vote over HHS mandate
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The growing Catholic outcry against a recent health insurance mandate could threaten President Obama’s support “among a key group of swing voters that was critical to his victory in 2008,” political writer George Condon says. 

According to an analysis released by the Pew Research Center on Feb. 2, Catholics have shifted away from the Democratic Party since the 2008 election.

George E. Condon, Jr., a political writer for the nonpartisan National Journal, wrote in a Feb. 1 article that although Obama won the Catholic vote in the 2008 election, recent dissatisfaction among Catholics could be detrimental to his 2012 efforts for a second term. 

Condon tied Obama’s change in political fortune to the Jan. 20 announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that virtually all employers will be required to purchase health insurance that includes coverage for sterilization and contraception, as well as the drug Ella, which can cause early abortions.

The very narrow religious exemption to the mandate requires an organization to exist for the purpose of inculcating religious values and to restrict employment and its services primarily to fellow believers.

The administration refused to broaden the exemption despite thousands of complaints from religious hospitals, schools and charitable agencies that objected to the mandate but were open to serving members of all faiths. 

In less than two weeks, the decision has been denounced in thousands of Catholic churches across America, and several bishops stated that they would refuse to comply with the “unconscionable” and “unjust” regulation.

According to Condon, the mandate provoked an “explosion of anger” and has left many Catholics feeling disappointed with President Obama.

Many Catholics who supported Obama in the 2008 election and defended his controversial appearance at Notre Dame in 2009 are also now left disillusioned by the realization that Obama does not understand “Catholic sensitivities,” as they had thought.

Condon said that although not all Catholics follow the Church’s teaching on birth control, the “American Catholic backlash” against the mandate has united the Church in a fight against a government attempt to regulate its ministries and employees.

The united Catholic opposition could be damaging to Obama’s chances for reelection, he said, observing that in 2010, Catholics made up 25 percent of the American population and were a “big swing vote in the key political states.”

Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center over the last year show a significant shift in the Catholic electorate away from the Democratic Party. 

In 2008, 37 percent of Catholic registered voters either identified with or leaned towards the Republican Party, while 53 percent favored the Democratic Party.

By 2011, those numbers had changed significantly, with 43 percent favoring the Republican Party and 48 percent identifying more closely with the Democratic Party.

An even further shift has occurred among white Catholics who attend Mass every week.
In 2008, this demographic was evenly split, with 45 percent favoring each political party.

But in 2011, 52 percent favored the Republicans and just 40 percent identified more with the Democrats.

The Pew analysis indicates that Catholic voters are not alone in this trend. It finds that “the share of voters identifying with or leaning toward the GOP has either grown or held steady in every major religious group,” including those that have traditionally tended to align more closely with the Democratic Party.

Condon explained that Catholics being upset at the Obama administration over the new mandate could play a significant role in the upcoming election.

He stated that “the clout of the Catholic vote is unquestioned,” with only one candidate winning the presidency without it since 1972. 

He also pointed out that over 50 of the bishops who have spoken out “represent dioceses in what will be battleground states in the election” and that many of these states have large Catholic populations.

Catholics are also highly concentrated in about a dozen battleground states, including New Jersey (41 percent), Wisconsin (30 percent), Pennsylvania (28 percent), and Ohio (18 percent).

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
22

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14