- Every poll should be taken with a large grain of salt. Nevertheless, the swing is impressive: Catholics represent the widest switch from Democrat-to-Republican support of any group classified. I’ll be watching the exit polls next week to see if the claims made by this poll are substantiated.
- Individuals who identify themselves as Catholic tend to generally follow the overall trend of voting, year-by-year, so what we are seeing among Catholics is partially a subset of the widespread national disappointment in Democrats.
- What I am more interested in seeing is the polling for practicing Catholics, often defined in polls as Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week (as required). This group of active Catholics voted more against than for Obama in 2008.
- I find it fascinating that more Catholics supported Democrats in the last midterm elections (in 2006) than supported the Democrats + Obama-as-President more recently in 2008. Obama’s “Catholic problem” remains, and there may now be evidence it is getting worse. Much worse.
Of course, in the end, polls don’t matter. Votes do.
UPDATE – Josh called the reporter who wrote the original NYTimes story and published the findings of their polling (along with CBS):
The graphic above only shows the gap between the two parties, not the raw numbers. So I called New York Times reporter Megan Thee-Brennan. She told me the exact two-party support from Catholics in this poll. Among Catholics, she said, 62% said they were voting Republican in the upcoming midterm elections and 38% said they were voting Democratic, a gap of 24 points. She then noted that Barack Obama won the Catholic vote by ten points in 2008, winning it 54 to 44 over McCain.
A swing of 34 points? Holy moly.