While Catholics have mixed reviews regarding President Obama’s invite to speak at Notre Dame, research released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life on Thursday finds that those who attend Mass regularly are more likely to oppose the invite. Less frequent Mass goers are more apt to support Notre Dame’s decision.
The Pew survey, which was conducted as part of Pew’s April News Interest Index which examines the public reaction to current events asks: “How much, if anything, have you heard about each of the following? Have you heard a lot, a little or nothing at all?”
The Notre Dame portion of the question is worded: “Criticism of Notre Dame by abortion opponents for inviting Barack Obama to speak at its graduation and receive an honorary degree.”
Similar to views of the general public, only 48% of Catholics are familiar with the Notre Dame controversy and only 19% know a great deal about it. However, looking at non-Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass weekly, 35% have heard a lot about the invite while out of those who attend Mass less, only 10% know a large amount about the controversy.
The follow-up question asks: “Do you think it was right or wrong for Notre Dame to invite Obama to give their graduation speech and receive an honorary degree?”
Also in line with the public, almost half of Catholics agree that inviting Obama was the right choice, 28% say that it was the wrong decision and 22% had no opinion. However, of those who attend Mass at least weekly, 45% say it is wrong for ND to invite Obama while 37% believe it is the correct choice. Of those who do not attend Mass weekly, only 23% say it is wrong and 56% agree with Notre Dame President Father Jenkins.
Pew reports that the numbers are not surprising because 54% of all Catholics voted for President Obama in the November election.
The survey was based on 2,003 adults over the age of 18. Pew notes that for results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
For more information about the survey, visit www.people-press.org.