Exit polls are reporting that more weekly churchgoing Catholics voted for John McCain than for President-elect Barack Obama, slightly favoring McCain by 50 percent to 49 percent.
Those who attend Mass on a weekly basis comprised 46 percent of the overall Catholic vote, while 54 percent of Catholics surveyed said they attend less than weekly. Among infrequent Mass goers, Obama was favored 58 to 40 percent.
The fact that practicing Catholics supported McCain over Obama runs contrary to assertions made by Fr. Thomas Reese S.J. and other commentators who used the category of Catholics who attend Mass less than weekly to suggest that the teaching of Catholic bishops was ignored by the faithful.
Overall, Catholics favored Obama 54 to 45 percent, according to an Edison Media Research exit poll conducted for CNA. In 2004 George W. Bush won the Catholic vote over John Kerry, 52 to 47 percent.
McCain also defeated Obama among all Americans who attend church once a week, 55 to 43 percent, compared to Bush's 58 to 41 percent margin over Kerry.
Protestants supported McCain 54 to 45 percent, a lead he extended among weekly church attendees to 66 to 32 percent.
Obama performed well among the 11 percent of people who said they had no religion, winning by a 75 to 23 percent margin.