.- A recent poll claims that the most important factor, which will determine how Catholics will vote in the November presidential election, is their confidence in President George W. Bush to resolve the conflict in Iraq.
The poll, conducted by Belden Russonello and Stewart from June 2 to 10, was commissioned by the pro-abortion group “Catholics for a Free Choice.” It surveyed 2,239 Catholics voters, among them 366 Hispanics.
The pro-abortion group, declared as non-Catholic and in contradiction with Catholic teachings by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB,) states that the poll is “the largest and most statistically significant poll available of Catholic opinions on 2004 election issues.”
According to the poll, 54 percent of Catholic voters support keeping U.S. troops "in Iraq as long as necessary to establish democracy and stability." Only 45 percent support "bringing the troops home within six months, even if democracy and stability are not established."
The results are similar on whether Catholic voters think Bush has the ability to resolve the situation in Iraq: 54 percent have a "great deal" or "some" confidence, while 46 percent have "not much" or "very little confidence" in his ability to resolve the situation there.
Hispanic Catholics are among the most likely to want the troops home (54 percent) and to lack confidence in the president on this issue (59 percent).
Of those who have confidence in Bush’s ability to bring a resolution to the war, 96 intend to vote for Bush; 88 percent who do not have confidence intend to vote for the Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry.
The poll is part of “Catholics in Political Life: Challenges to Faith in Democracy,” a project of Catholics for a Free Choice, headed by the former nun Frances Kissling. The project was designed to “analyze how Catholics respond to the role of the Catholic hierarchy in the elections.”
The complete poll will be released July 13. It is accurate plus/minus 2.1 percentage points.