Quinnipac Releases Poll on Catholic Attitudes Toward Abortion and Same Sex Marriage

catholic-wedding-songs-2Earlier this month, Quinnipac University released a poll on Catholic attitudes on a range of issues, including abortion and same sex marriage. To their credit, Quinnipac separately reported results for Catholics who attend Mass weekly and Catholics who attend Mass less often. Often times, survey research firm lump consistent Mass attendees with infrequent Mass attendees. This often creates the misleading impression that Catholic attitudes on a range of issues are well to the left of the general population.

The poll findings on abortion are consistent with previous surveys. Catholic attitudes were fairly similar to the rest of the population. Thirty-nine percent of all respondents — and 42 percent of self-identified Catholics – felt abortion should be illegal in either “all” or “most” cases. However, there was a substantial difference in the opinions among Catholics who attended Mass on a weekly basis and those who did not. According to the survey, 61 percent of Catholics who attend Mass on a weekly basis thought abortion should be either mostly or entirely illegal. Only 29 percent of Catholics who attend Mass less often felt this way.

The results on same sex marriage were unsettling. The poll found that Catholic attitudes were again consistent with the rest of the population. Fifty-six percent of all respondents – and 60 percent of Catholics — support same sex marriage. However, what was disappointing was that a majority of Catholics (53 percent) who attend Mass weekly support same sex marriage. Interestingly, adherents of other faiths who attend church on a weekly basis were much less likely to support same sex marriage. Among all faith traditions – only 34 percent of weekly church attendees support same sex marriage.

This opinion gap between churchgoing Catholics and churchgoing non-Catholics is puzzling. Mark Regnerus of the Univeristy of Texas has shown that responses on same sex marriage polls are heavily influenced by the way questions are worded. Quinnipac’s same-sex marriage question — asking respondents if they would support or oppose a law allowing same-sex couples to get married – does bias people toward a pro same-sex marriage position. It is possible that the responses of churchgoing Catholics are more sensitive to question wording than other demographic groups. It is also possible that the sample of Mass attending Catholics was somehow skewed or unrepresentative.

That having been said, Catholics are a key demographic group in many “purple” states where there will likely be organized efforts to expand same-sex marriage. More research on the opinions of Catholics on this issue would certainly be welcome. If future surveys show similar results – clergy and laity who support traditional marriage need to more effectively communicate church teachings on this issue. Outreach efforts are needed not just to the general population, but apparently even to those who attend Mass on a weekly basis.



  • Si Korte

    God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!

  • Pingback: The (Catholic) Survey Taker | Apologia

  • Pingback: Pro-life blog buzz 11-1-13

    • Vance

      A nice chunk of marriages fail in the US so what makes you straight people the true judges of romantic relationships or your god? Leave humans alone and mind your own damn business! Love is a human experience not a political statement.

  • Chris

    It seems our priests have their work cut out for them, particularly on teaching the basics of marriage.

    • morganB

      Many are to consumed by the sin of pedophilia. The church is in a state of disarray… untrustworthy, unreliable and they defiantly use cover ups to “protect” Mother Church.

      • Joshua Mercer

        Do you think this remains the case in 2014? I don’t dispute that this was tragically way too common in the 1970s and 1980s, and well into even the 2000s–in some places. But since the reforms of 2005, do you think the Catholic Church in the United States persists in covering it up? Over in Minneapolis, Archbishop Niedstedt has fully cooperated with the police, even temporarily stepping down during an investigation into his behavior (he was exonerated). Other dioceses have placed full unedited videotaped depositions on YouTube for everyone to see.



Receive our updates via email.