Liberals are reading the same exit polls as we are, and it’s safe to say it has them spooked.
Deal Hudson writes about the new emerging Catholic Vote:
Pushed, in part, by concern about the health care bill, Catholic voters across the nation returned to the GOP in numbers resembling the presidential victory of George W. Bush in 2004. CNN exit polls record 55 percent of Catholics voted for the GOP while AP polling showed a whopping 58 percent, a twenty point increase since 2008. Either way, the 2008 Catholic support for Obama has completely reversed itself, perhaps with a vengeance.
In all, over 17 pro-life Catholics will be added to the Congress, while roughly 26 pro-abortion Catholics will be departing.
George Marlin adds in “Catholics and the Mid-Terms“:
This switch had a major impact on elections in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Two years ago, a large percentage of pro-life, GOP-voting Catholics in these economically troubled rust-belt states were AWOL on Election Day. They stayed home then because they could not, in good conscience, vote for pro-abortion Obama, but they were uninspired by McCain’s anemic economic vision.
But this year Catholics came out in force and provided the votes needed to defeat one Congressional Democratic incumbent in Indiana, and four each in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Flipping these closely-contested seats was the sine qua non of the GOP master plan to retake the House, and Catholics provided the margins of victory.
It doesn’t help that Democrats appeared to have given up Catholic outreach this year:
Among the many reasons Democrats are giving for why so many lost faith in them at the polls on Tuesday, some are blaming the party for losing faith itself – for neglecting religious outreach and messaging in the run up to Election Day.
“It’s been a real challenge organizing at the level of what was done in the last couple of cycles in faith constituencies because of a smaller staff and a small overall commitment,” from the Democratic Party, said Burns Strider, who was hired by the party to help with faith outreach this year. [Dan Gilgoff at CNN's Belief Blog]
Liberal Catholics, meanwhile, continue to scratch their heads over what went wrong, as this Religion News Service article (pointed out by Brian Saint-Paul at Inside Catholic) illustrates:
Independent liberal groups such as Catholics United battled for several Democratic candidates through radio ads, phone banks, and legal maneuvers. In those campaigns, the Democrats, all Catholics, were blasted by conservatives because they voted for health care reform over the U.S. bishops’ objections. The candidates — Reps. Tom Perriello of Virginia, Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, and Steve Driehaus of Ohio — all lost close races on Tuesday.
“Those are folks who are really committed to the common good, with a strong sense of Catholic social teaching,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby. “But they really got lost in whatever this fear is that is gripping our country.”
… “Whatever this fear is?”
To paraphrase a common saying: “It’s not fear – it’s the faith, stupid.”