Recent polls show that Sen. Barack Obama is trailing in support among white Catholic voters by 11 points. On Saturday morning, Sen. Obama announced that he had chosen Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate, even though the senator from Delaware has a record of supporting abortion, which the Catholic Church opposes.
The Obama campaign finds itself battling for the Catholic vote with a Zogby/Reuters poll from last week showing Obama garnering support from 36 percent of white Catholics. ABC News’ most recent polling shows McCain beating Obama among registered white Catholic voters 50 to 39 percent.
As CNA reported earlier this month, Zogby analyst Fritz Wenzel attributes this gap to the two candidates’ positions on social issues. “Catholics vote largely on a set of conservative values and on social values,” said Wenzel. “On social values McCain has a natural advantage because of his pro-life stance, compared to Obama’s pro-choice stance.”
Nevertheless, Obama has picked Joe Biden, a self-described strong supporter of Roe v. Wade, as his vice presidential candidate.
Biden’s voting record includes a 2004 vote against penalties for someone attacking a pregnant woman and harming her unborn child while committing a separate crime, a vote in 2000 against maintaining a ban on abortions on military bases and a 2006 vote against notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.
In contrast to these votes is a statement made by Sen. Biden on Meet the Press in April 2007 when he was asked about when life begins. “Look, I'm a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility.” … “I am prepared to accept my church's view. I think it's a tough one. I have to accept that on faith.”
When it comes to embryonic stem cell research and cloning, Joe Biden has voted in favor of expanding embryonic research efforts and against a ban on cloning.
In an April 2007 Democratic primary debate, Sen. Biden also explained his stance on a litmus test question about Roe v. Wade for Supreme Court judicial nominees. “I strongly support Roe v. Wade. I wouldn't have a specific question but I would make sure that the people I sent to be nominated for the Supreme Court shared my values; and understood that there is a right to privacy in the United States Constitution.”