The 2012 Catholic Vote: An Early Assessment Print
By George J. Marlin   
Monday, 19 November 2012

I live in Long Island and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy my home was without electricity, heat or lights for 14 days, 2 hours, and 30 minutes.  Sitting in the dark every night shivering in my living room (which hit a low of 49 degrees), I had plenty of time to brood over the disastrous 2012 election results, the way Catholics voted in particular, and why it happened.

Here’s what I came up with:

GOP internal tracking polls that had Romney winning were wrong because pollsters could not factor into their mathematical formulas the effectiveness of Obama’s Election Day ground operation. Obama people may be awful at governing, but they excel at mobilizing turnout.

Leftist community organizers, often financed by our tax dollars, have been fine tuning their “get out the vote” techniques since the mid-1960s.  And during the past four years, they went beyond identifying voting blocs by zip codes or neighborhoods. They actually compiled dossiers on millions of individuals who were sympathetic to their agenda and personalized messages designed to push their political hot buttons.

Obama’s Chicago gang focused on turning out pro-abortion single women, Latinos, African-Americans, and recipients of government welfare programs – and keeping home 2008 Obama supporters who were leaning against him this year—particularly blue-collar Catholics.

The disenchanted were inundated with campaign propaganda that painted Romney as an out of touch plutocrat who would be a worse president than Obama.  The success of this voter suppression strategy explains why Obama was the first re-elected president to receive fewer votes than in his first election.

As for the Catholic vote, utilizing currently available data (which is still not complete), I’ve compiled the following chart that compares votes cast by Catholics in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections in a dozen or so states where exit polling was done and actually allows us to make such comparisons. (Though you will see exit polls reported on by various news outlets, basically all of them were conducted by Edison Media Research, which supplied the results broken down below.)

 
 
 
2008 Generic
Catholic Vote
2012 Generic
Catholic Vote
Catholic
Vote
 
State
% of Catholics
 
 McCain %
 
Obama %
 
Romney %
 
Obama %
Romney 2012 vs.
McCain 2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AZ
23
49
49
50
50
+1
CA
28
37
58
38
62
+1
CT
48
50
46
49
51
-1
FL
28
49
50
52
47
+3
IA
23
41
50
52
47
+11
ME
26
37
61
41
56
+4
MI
29
46
51
55
44
+9
NV
25
42
57
46
51
+4
NH
38
50
50
54
46
+4
NJ
44
55
45
43
45
-1
NM
32
29
69
32
64
+3
NY
42
41
59
53
47
+12
NC
9
N/A
N/A
66
34
--
OH
26
52
47
55
44
+3
PA
35
52
48
50
49
-2
VA
15
N/A
N/A
55
45
--
WI
32
47
53
56
44
+9
 

As is clear, in most state results there was a slight shift in the Catholic vote towards Mitt Romney, but quite a large movement to the Republican candidate in Iowa, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin – all battleground states with the exception of New York. The worst change for Republicans was in Pennsylvania, which registered a 2 percent increase in Catholic votes for the Democrat incumbent, President Obama.

Nationwide, in 2008, Senator McCain received 45 percent of the generic Catholic vote, 52 percent of church-going Catholics, 53 percent of White Catholics, and 32 percent of Hispanics.  Governor Romney received 48 percent of the generic Catholic vote, 57 percent of Church attendees, 52 percent of cafeteria Catholics, 59 percent of white Catholics, and 27 percent of Hispanics.

While white Catholic support for the Republican nominee was higher than McCain’s in 2008, turnout was not enough in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio to put them into the GOP Electoral College column.  On the other hand, the Hispanic vote increased by about 9 million over 2008 totals.  This helped put Obama over the top in the tightly contested states of Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.

In my next column for The Catholic Thing, I will try to provide a broader analysis of the impact of Catholic voter turnout in key swing states, which is a more complex phenomenon than has been recognized to date. For now, it’s worth noting the curious fact that most news outlets have not made much of an effort to dig into the Catholic results.  In several ways, Catholic voters were trending back a bit towards Catholic values, but how, why – and in many cases, why not – will occupy us in our next.

 
 
George J. Marlin is an editor of The Quotable Fulton Sheen and the author of The American Catholic VoterHis most recent book is Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative.
 
 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.
 
 

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