Obama Still Winning Catholics Despite Contraception Coverage Controversy

This past winter’s controversy over contraceptive coverage doesn’t appear to be hurting President Obama among Catholic voters:

While Catholics — who make up 24% of all registered voters — tilt toward Obama over Romney, their support differs significantly based on how religious they are — just as was the case for Protestants. Very religious Catholics tilt slightly toward Romney, while Catholics who are moderately religious or nonreligious tilt by 13- and 15-point margins toward Obama.

Here are the numbers:

The fact that Obama only has a four point deficit among “very religious” Catholics suggests very strongly that this contraception coverage issue hasn’t hurt the President at all.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Since most Catholics don’t have much use for the Bishops or the Vatican this is not very surprising. It does make you wonder why they still of themselves as Catholics however.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This entire post is a non-sequitur.

    First, saying that Obama still is winning the Catholic vote “despite [the] contraception coverage controversy” is akin to saying that Obama is winning the union vote despite the failure of card check or that Obama is winning the Jewish vote despite tense relations with the Netanyahu government. Catholics vote majority Democrat. Man bites dog.

    Second, the germane issue is not the breakdown of Catholic support by levels of religiosity. The key issue is whether the level of support among Catholics has changed since the contraception coverage controversy erupted. Obama in 2008 received 54% of the Catholic vote. Is his overall level of support among Catholics today less or more? Is that level of overall support less or more since the coverage controversy became front-page news?

    Lastly, there are the twin and related issues of demographics and locales.

    Latinos almost universally are Catholic. To the extent they still support Obama at the same or even at higher levels as prior to the contraception coverage controversy there nevertheless would remain the issue whether that’s a function of the hard line stance on immigration the GOP took in connection with its contested primary season. That assumes, of course, no other exogenous factors that might have swayed those numbers.

    Then there’s the Electoral College. Let’s say hypothetically that overall Catholic support for Obama is unchanged from today when compared to a year ago, but that it’s because Latino support for Obama has increased substantially in view of the GOP moving too far to the right on immigration and related issues. Then the obvious follow up inquiries would need to be what are white Catholics currently thinking about Obama and to what exent has their support waned.

    What white Catholics think about Obama won’t matter in California and in New Mexico, but it could be absolutely critical in Ohio and Pennsylvania, thereby to the ultimate outcome of the election.

    Those numbers from Gallup are like a store front display: catching to the eye, perhaps, but not nearly the entire story.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: The irony is the Latinos probably make up a majority of the “very religious Catholics.”

  4. Moosebreath says:

    TN,

    You’ve been making some good posts recently, but this wasn’t one.

    Catholics have generally been a very swingy group in Presidential elections, with the last time a candidate won even 60% of the Catholic vote in 1972. Bush the Younger won Cathoics in 2004. Even your example from 2008 shows Catholics voting for Obama in numbers only 1% higher than the country as a whole.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Not surprising at all as many American Catholics are ‘cafeteria Catholics’ – that is, they do not strictly adhere to the teachings of the Church when it comes to use of artificial contraception, nor do they see requiring insurance coverage of such contraception as infringing upon freedom of religion.

    Also, many Catholics are quite well aware that the leadership of the Church picked this fight with President Obama for partisan political purposes. Many know full well that the Church accepted similar insurance mandates in many states and did not strenuously object until Obama proposed them.

  6. ozarkHillbilly says:

    Show me an American Catholic who has never used contraception, and I will show you a liar. Has anyone ever asked why we refer to the “American Catholic Church”?

    (The answer is “Yes”, but why does no one explore beyond that question? In depth?)

  7. anjin-san says:

    many American Catholics are ‘cafeteria Catholics’ – that is, they do not strictly adhere to the teachings of the Church

    I think this is very accurate. My wife is a practicing Catholic, and she is fairly serious about it. That being said, she has no use for the bishops and little use for this pope. My sense is that she is pretty typical of the congregation at her church.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    …many American Catholics are ‘cafeteria Catholics’

    Including Catholics like Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan…

  9. OldmanRick says:

    As a card carrying member of the Catholic Church, allow me to state that I did not and will not vote for the divisive, disingenuous, narcissistic, marxist child known as Obama, the destroyer.

  10. OzakHillbilly says:

    @OldmanRick:

    ” As a card carrying member of theCatholic Church Child Abusers Support Network, allow me to state that I did not and will not vote for the divisive (he is divisive because I hate him), disingenuous (he is disengenous because he keeps pointing out the fallacies of my beliefs), narcissistic (because it’s really all about me, me, ME!), marxist (I should know, I once looked at the cover of Das Kapital) child (he is younger than I) known as Obama, the destroyer (He wants to destroy the rich by making them pay as large a percentage of their income as everyone else).

    Just in case OldmanRick wasn’t making himself clear.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @OldmanRick:

    As a card carrying member of the Catholic Church, allow me to state that I did not and will not vote for the divisive, disingenuous, narcissistic, marxist child known as Obama, the destroyer.

    Maarxist? I looked it up, you’re right. Here’s the definition of a Marxist
    Marx·ist   [noun] – the system of economic and political thought developed by Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, and currently defined by American conservatives to be those people who want to let the Bush Tax Cut expire and let the top marginal tax rate go back to 39% from 34%

  12. mantis says:

    As a card carrying member of the Catholic Church, allow me to state that I did not and will not vote for the divisive, disingenuous, narcissistic, marxist child known as Obama, the destroyer.

    You have been allowed. Now back under your rock.