Complex Catholic women's vote might influence the election
Melissa Deckman, political science professor at Washington College, speaks at a Catholic vote panel Oct. 22 in Washington, D.C. Credit: Michelle Bauman-CNA.
Melissa Deckman, political science professor at Washington College, speaks at a Catholic vote panel Oct. 22 in Washington, D.C. Credit: Michelle Bauman-CNA.

.- An analysis of Catholic women during the 2012 election season shows significant levels of agreement with Church teaching on contraception, as well as unity with other Americans in being concerned about the economy.

“I think the data here paint an interesting picture of Catholic women, in that Catholic women are more likely to agree with the Catholic Church hierarchy on both the social justice issues and also the social issues such as abortion,” said Melissa Deckman, political science professor at Washington College.

In an Oct. 22 panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Deckman analyzed how Catholics fit into “the gender gap in American presidential elections.”

The women’s vote is historically important, she said, noting that there are more women registered to vote and likely to vote than men in the U.S.
For decades, women have preferred Democratic candidates, she explained, and this held true in the 2008 election, in which Obama received 56 percent of the women’s vote while only receiving 49 percent of the men’s vote. In contrast, Republican candidate John McCain received only 43 percent of the women’s vote.

“This summer, it looked as though Obama was likely to maintain a double digit advantage among women voters come November, but polls in recent weeks demonstrate that the race for women voters is tightening,” Deckman said.

Despite the recent focus on the “women’s issues” of abortion and free employer-funded contraception, she observed that “women have been more likely to vote Democratic not because of reproductive rights issues, historically, but because of their attitudes about the social safety net.”

Polls indicate that women are more supportive of government providing benefits to those in need than men are, she explained.

Recently released polls by the Public Religion Research Institute show that among all Americans – men and women, Catholics and non-Catholics – the economy is the most important factor in determining one’s choice of presidential candidate, Deckman said.

The second most prominent issue is health care, which American women are more likely than men to pick as their most influencing factor in voting for president.

And while only four percent of Americans list abortion as the most important issue in determining their choice of presidential candidate, Deckman pointed out that Catholic women are more than twice as likely as men to choose it as their primary consideration.

Many of these women are pro-life, she added, as Catholic women are the most likely group of poll respondents to say that abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Catholic women are also more likely to oppose the federal contraception mandate when it is applied to religious hospitals and similar institutions, she said.

Deckman acknowledged that “in recent weeks, the Romney campaign has been able to close the gap” that exists between the genders.

In a campaign with a heavy economic focus, this may be the result of “the Romney campaign’s emphasis on how the economy’s affecting women – namely that there are more women in poverty under the Obama administration, and the recession has hit women harder in terms of job loss,” she said.

Other speakers on the panel explained that while the Catholic vote has long been considered an important swing vote in determining the outcome of elections, it is white Catholics who identify as politically moderate and are the true swing group within the Catholic community.

In such a tight race, predictions are difficult to make, the panelists said, but Catholics who fit into this swing category – including the women whose vote is being emphatically pursued by both candidates – could make a difference on Nov. 6.

Tags: Contraception mandate, Abortion, 2012 election, Catholic vote

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


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage

Liturgical Calendar

July 24, 2014

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:10-17


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Gospel:: Mt 13: 10-17

Saint of the Day

St. Charbel Makhlouf »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:10-17


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: