Washington D.C., Aug 30, 2016 / 15:23 pm
With some recent election polls showing Hillary Clinton with a large lead over Donald Trump among Catholics, does Trump have a “Catholic problem” as some are saying he does?
“It’s another data point that shows how difficult it’s going to be for Trump to win in November,” Dr. Matthew Green, a politics professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., said of the poll numbers. “It’s increasingly looking dire for the Trump campaign.”
However, Dr. Mark Gray of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University cautioned against reading too much into those polls. “For now be wary of claims either candidate has a ‘Catholic problem’,” he wrote in a blog post on the matter. “We have too little data and what we do have presents a mixed picture.”
Recent Washington Post-ABC News poll numbers show Hillary Clinton with a commanding 27-point lead over Trump among Catholics. Other recent numbers – like from the Public Religion Research Institute – show Clinton winning much of the Catholic vote, including the vast majority of Hispanic Catholics.
Pew Research numbers from July showed Clinton with a 16-point lead over Trump among Catholics. Trump actually won the white Catholic vote 50 to 46 percent in that poll, but lost the Hispanic Catholic vote 77 to 16.
And in the Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton was winning a substantial margin of Catholic voters who were weekly churchgoers – a constituency that is “traditionally Republican-leaning,” Green noted.
However, many election polls are not revealing the religious split of respondents. And of the few polls that are, in one case the numbers wildly fluctuated.
While in July, Pew reported that Clinton led Trump by 16 points among Catholics, in August Clinton’s support among Catholics dropped 16 percent. Trump actually won the Catholic vote in that poll of registered voters, 42 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent, with 12 percent voting for third party candidates Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein.