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February 3, 2004


Swing State Catholics

The Guardian reports on US Catholics, and how their allegiance has apparently shifted from Bush in the 2000 election to Kerry in this one. A lot of the Catholic vote is Latino of course, a population that is growing and historically votes Democrat, but may also be growing more conservative. The real surprise is the Catholic vote in the NH primary, an overwhelmingly white state that is about 1/3 Catholic. The Catholic vote, and especially the Catholic male vote, was large in turnout, and decisively in support of Kerry (himself an Irish Catholic, though a divorced and remarried one.) White Catholics tend to be fairly conservative and not particularly politically active, so when a lot of them get out to vote in a Democratic primary, the Bush administration will definitely take notice. In the last election, Catholics were Bush supporters: "Men - particularly Catholic men - carried enough states for Mr. Bush in 2000 to make the Florida decision decisive. Without their help, the Republicans would have lost at least Missouri, so even the Supreme Court's intervention would not have plucked the presidency out of Democratic hands."

Bush has clearly been trying to gain popularity among Catholics. Dick Cheney just scuttled out of his crypt to visit the Pope, and efforts are being made to legitimize Mexican migrants, which won't make anti-immigration conservatives happy. Since the Catholic population is so diverse, there's no one way to gain their support, but as the article states, "If the German Catholics of Missouri towns such as Hermann are angry enough to go to the polls, and if they cast a ballot for Mr. Kerry, Mr. Bush could be on his way to becoming the second one-term president in his family."

categories: Politics, Religion
posted by amy at 7:31 PM | #