Aug 10, 2004 / 22:00 pm
While Catholics tend to show a slight preference for Senator John Kerry over President George W. Bush, a recent Gallup poll indicates that among practicing Catholics, who attend church on a weekly basis, Bush leads Kerry in the upcoming presidential race. On the other hand, Catholics who attend church infrequently support Kerry.
Historically, Catholics voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in large part. However, in the past three decades, Catholics, who comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population, have become a key swing voting group. They proved their influence on election results when they broke with their historical voting pattern to support the winning Republican candidates in 1972, 1980, and 1984.
While, Bush had at least a slight lead over Kerry among Catholics in every poll before mid-May, the last five Gallup surveys have shown the opposite. In the most recent poll, Catholic registered voters favored Kerry by a 51 percent to 45 percent margin.
Why this shift? Gallup suggests one possibility is that as voters learn more about Kerry, they become aware that he professes the Catholic faith.