The National Catholic Review

The folks at Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have created an interactive graphic that is easy to parse and fun to use that allows unrepentant political geeks to track candidate Obama and Romney's weekly standing in specific Christian denominations, broken down even to frequency of worship attendance (h/t J. Peter Nixon at Commonweal).

Pew polls this week show Obama ahead among all Catholic voters by a wide margin, but his support drops quickly when it is limited to weekly churchgoers. He is dead even among white Catholics in general this week; an improvement, he is trending higher in this group. Weekly churchgoing white Catholics support Romney by a strong margin, monthly and seldom churchgoing white Catholics support Obama by the same.

Take a look at the graph here.


Tim O'Leary | 9/24/2012 - 11:27pm
Rick #17
Boy, you really bring the big guns into little skirmishes. Why, just the other day you excommunicated Archbishop Chaput. It is also interesting how so many liberals, forgetful of their impotence, are trying to excommunicate Paul Ryan or demanding that he be expelled. 

I didn't say that I was always faithful, just that I was aware of what the Church teaches, and believed the teaching. See again the 2nd sentence in the 2nd paragraph where I made the distinction between the sin and the sinning. I know I fall short and what it is I fall short of. You might be right that judgment will go harder for me since I cannot lean on the excuse of ignorance nor claim a conscientious objection.
Tom Maher | 9/27/2012 - 12:43am
Kevin Clarke # 19 

A fun post?  That is very ironic.  You present very distorted poll results that proport to show in your words " Obama ahead among all Catholic voters by a wide margin" and you do not think people will notice and strongly object?  Distorted polling results are being used to mislead the voting public into thinking Obama has support that in fact he does not have.  There is nothing funy about misrepresting cadidate support by distorted polling results as is widely happening in the media this election.  You are writting about one of the  of the most contensious issues of this election.
ed gleason | 9/25/2012 - 11:28pm
Kevin ;Maybe there are no fun posts.  O'Leary reminds us  "they claim they are  committed Catholics but also pro-abortion, pro-gay, or think fornication is ok, etc.'
All sin originates in the pelvis?  oldsters are home free,   
Rick Fueyo | 9/24/2012 - 10:23pm
Weekly Mass doers that are faithful physically but absent spiritually, pointing the doctrinal flaws of their politocal lessors that are insifficiently Catholic in their partisan identification and thus insuffficiently righteous

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get
Tim O'Leary | 9/24/2012 - 9:21pm
I think/hope Joseph (#13) is joking (I know Amy #15 is) but for those who would like the actual reference: Canon Law 1247 and the Catechism (CCC 2180) describe Sunday mass as obligatory for Catholics, barring a serious obstacle (a football game or picnic doesn't suffice).

Of course, the more amazing finding is how many claim on polls that they are committed Catholics but also pro-abortion, pro-gay, or think fornication is ok, etc. It's one thing to be a sinner aware of his/her sin, another to be a dissenter to the Church's teaching, and another to not know what the Church teaches.

Then again, polls on knowledge of history or geography are no more encouraging. Here is an interesting quiz on Religious Knowledge from the Pew Forum.

As to the main topic, McCain was ahead of Obama in September, 2008 and caused distress at the time over at the Huffing Post
Amy Ho-Ohn | 9/24/2012 - 6:37pm
"Last I checked, weekly Mass was encouraged, but not mandatory."

Um, (shocked) is this true? Did it change? I thought skipping Sunday mass was still considered a grave sin.

I'd like to know, because I'd definitely rather to go ziplining this Sunday.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 9/24/2012 - 6:34pm

I don't think people are deliberately dishonest. I think the pollster asks "Do you go to church weekly?" and the respondent says "Yes", because he considers the times he does not attend "exceptions."

There is also a grand old tradition in many Catholic cultures that if the grandmother of the family goes to mass and takes the small children, then it "counts" for the whole family.
Anonymous | 9/24/2012 - 12:45am
I'm sorry, I'm rereading what was said and going to the poll and don't see how white churchgoing Catholics are broken out - just support for either candidate by frequency of attending services.

I'm wondering whether conservatives are merely more likely to attend weekly services, compared to progressives, rather than the message at services tending to attract conservatives rather than progressives. Specifically, I'd guess that a greater number of conservative Catholics place more importance on attending Mass every week, than progressive Catholics. The progressives are there, but not as many.

Last I checked, weekly Mass was encouraged, but not mandatory.
Tom Maher | 9/23/2012 - 8:10pm
The Rasmussen Daily Swing State Tracking Poll of Sunday, Septembe 23, 2012 of likely voters reports the follwoiing:

In the 11 swing states, the president earns 46% of the vote, and Mitt Romney is supported by 45%. Three percent (3%) are not sure, and six percent (6%) are undecided.
In 2008, Obama won these states by a combined margin of 53% to 46%, virtually
identical to his national margin. 
After modest post-convention bounces for both candidates, the race is now back to where it was at the beginning of the month.

When “leaners” are factored in, Obama receives 48% of the vote to Romney's 47%. Leaners are those who are initially uncommitted to the two leading candidates but lean towards one of them when asked a follow-up question. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Tom Maher | 9/23/2012 - 7:39pm
The Daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday , September 23, 2012 of likely voters reports the following:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows President Obama and Mitt Romney each attracting support from 46% of voters nationwide. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. ????? ????? 
Rick Fueyo | 9/23/2012 - 5:13pm
Watch how the campaigns are actually acting and you know what their private polling indicates.  Its shows the President with a modest but significant lead
ed gleason | 9/23/2012 - 4:40pm
Amy "When the pollsters go into the churches and count attendees, it is usually closer to one fifth.

 are you calling us weekly Mass people unreliable in the polls? (-:
Amy Ho-Ohn | 9/23/2012 - 3:55pm
To some extent, the causal factor goes the other way: Sunday mass is not an inviting prospect for Democrats during election season. It must be particularly difficult for parents of children who are old enough to know that the principles denounced from the pulpit are exactly the ones their parents hold.

In polls like this, one should also be careful about the way "weekly" mass attendance is measured. When the pollees are asked, about a third of Catholics call themselves "weekly" mass attendees. When the pollsters go into the churches and count attendees, it is usually closer to one fifth.
Jim McCrea | 9/23/2012 - 1:28pm
Regular church attenders probably are older and constantly subject to the official negative lines about Obama, religious freedom, same-sex marriage, abortion ad nauseum.

Irregular attenders aren't subject to that and most likely have a more expansive view - their own - about these matters.

There is a vast difference between teaching and indoctrination.
joseph o'leary | 9/23/2012 - 12:39pm
Pew's research is fascinating and always an eye-opener. What's interesting here is the correlation between regular, weekly attendance at Mass and support for a conservative candidate (or lack of support for a progressive candidate). What if the poll tracked preferences by other spiritual practices: Catholics who prayed the Rosary regularly? Contemplative prayer? The Ignatian Exercises? Liturgy of the Hours? Lectio Divina? And how about Catholics who regularly engage in works of faith?

J Cosgrove | 9/23/2012 - 9:19am
Obama campaign manager said do not pay attention to those national polls because everything is ok in the battleground states.

Here is a chart of the polling from Gallup since Mitt Romney made his gaffe on the Cairo riots.  Some here on this blog also speculated that the the May comments on the 47% would cost Obama the election.  Both have not in the short term seem to have made any difference.  There are still 45 days for many more gaffes and election changers. 
J Cosgrove | 9/22/2012 - 10:29pm
The latest Gallup poll has them tied.  Of course this is a national poll and the only polls that matter are the 9-11 states that are being contested on Nov 6th.  Whatever your preference, one can probably find a poll that suits you.  
Tom Maher | 9/22/2012 - 11:41am
The notion of "wide margin" for Catholics overall in this article or "wide gap" for the overall population is not accurate and very suspect.  Most professional analyst by most measure note very narrow the range between the two candidates is.  And there has been no cosnsistant trend up or down.  Narrow up and down is the pattern is the pattern of this Presidential race so far there is no "wide margin" overall. t . 

And the narrow margin pattern has been around for awhile and was confirmed in  2000 Bush v. Gore race where polls cosistantly showed Gore with a 4% or more margin advantage but actual election results were narrow margins favoring Bush in most  states.   Bush v Kerry had the same narrow margin reversal on election day. 

Even distorted polls that use "all adults" or "registered voters" consistantly show a very close race where both candidates are below 50% overall. 

C?ritically polls of likely voters show Pesident Obama unfavoralibit?y? rate of ??49%.?
Matthew Pettigrew | 9/22/2012 - 9:48am
I believe that Nate Silver, who writes for the New York Times and whose blog is called fivethirtyeight, has a pretty good record of predicting results. He is what I think is called an aggregator, which means that he analyzes the results of many polling organizations. As of yesterday he predicts that by election day Obama will win 309 electoral votes to Romney's 229. The chances of Obama winning the election, according to Silver, are 76.9%. If the election were held today, Silver believes there would be an even larger gap between the two candidates.
Tom Maher | 9/22/2012 - 12:00am
The Pew poll is technically deficient in that it uses registered voters instead of likely voters. Most register voters - over 60% - never vote or rarely vote so about 60 %registered voters expressing a candidate preferance in a poll will not actually vote come election day which is like asking the people in Canada who they perfer for United States President.  The inclusion of 60% non-voters distorts the poll result.  A further significant problem with "registered voters" is nationwide more people are registered  Democrats so "registered voters".  The poll will overrepresent people who will tend to favor Democratic cadidates such as Barack Obama.  Polls based on "registered voters" significantly biases the poll to favor Democratic candidates.  

Given the polls biases in representing the actual voting population the statement "Pew polls this week show Obama ahead among all Catholic voters by a wide margin" is very likely very overstated and unreliable.  To be a valid and reliable forecast of an election outcome polls must proportionately representative sub-groups in the population who will likely vote.