pass the gravy and data

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You ready to talk turkey?

I’ve got some great stuff for you to share in case your Thanksgiving meal veers into things political…

Remember a few weeks ago I told you that we pioneered a new strategy to reach Catholic voters. We were able to track mobile devices that appear inside Church property boundaries, and then we were able to reach these church-goers with ads that appealed to Catholics.

Our primary focus was 4 states: Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, and Montana. We won 3 out of 4 of these states, sending 3 strong new pro-life members to the United States Senate for the next six years — and growing our pro-life majority by 2 seats.

But guess what else we did…

We asked these same Catholics who go to Church to participate in a survey. And we employed a professional polling firm to learn about the real Catholic vote. While the media often focuses on the generic “Catholic vote” based on exit poll interviews, the data that matters are those Catholics who actually GO to Mass!

Remember: this data below is taken from Catholics who have attended Church at least once in the past year. People who tell pollsters they are “Catholic” but do not attend Church are not included. These responses are from the Catholics who still practice the faith (sometimes!).
Here are some of the some fascinating findings:

HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO TO MASS?

  • 45% go to Mass once a week.
  • 17% go once a month.
  • 33% attend “rarely” or a few times a year (Christmas and Easter, etc)
  • …and just under 5% go more than once a week (daily communicants)
DO YOU PREFER REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT SENATE CANDIDATE?
This is where the rubber met the road. And the data was clear: Catholics who go to Church overwhelmingly favored Republican Senate candidates in their states — by a whopping 15 percentage points!

HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO TO MASS?

  • 45% go to Mass once a week.
  • 17% go once a month.
  • 33% attend “rarely” or a few times a year (Christmas and Easter, etc)
  • …and just under 5% go more than once a week (daily communicants)

 

Keep in mind President Trump’s approval rating in some states is higher than in others. But here’s a helpful example: Trump’s approval rating in Indiana is at 52%, with 44% disapproving (an 8-point advantage). Yet, among Mass-attending Catholics in that state, the number who approve is at 57%, with 40% disapproving (a 17-point advantage). In short, among Catholics who go to mass, Trump’s approval rating is outpacing the general electorate.

WHAT ABOUT JUSTICE K?

This one was a no-brainer. But we thought you’d like to know anyway… Catholics who go to Mass supported the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh 64% – 31%. Remember even the general public was supportive too. But among Catholics who go to Church, the data shows they are more than happy with our new Supreme Court Justice.

 

A FEW OTHER INTERESTING NUMBERS…

Finally, here’s a few other key findings from our survey work:

  • If another vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court, 49% of Mass-attending Catholics said that would make them more likely to vote Republican, with 29% saying it would make them favor a Democrat. 16% said it would make no difference.
  • 25% of those surveyed said they participated in early voting in their state.
  • 63% said they recalled seeing an ad “related to Catholics and voting.” Hmm… I wonder who sent those?

 

Our key takeaway from this finding: Catholics who go to Mass are key voters in every election. In some states, they make up a significant voting bloc. And those Catholics that do go to church strongly favor Republican candidates, President Trump, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, and consider themselves generally conservative.

…and perhaps most significantly, our CV programs are working. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents recalled seeing our ads. And they voted accordingly.

We knew that the midterm elections would be a challenge. Which is why we made the decision over a year ago to invest our resources in a handful of critical Senate races where we thought we could make the biggest difference with Catholics who actually go to Church. These voters are the real Catholic vote. They aren’t unified by any means. There’s still lots of work left to do. But a significant majority are helping us win in a big way.

The election results, as well as this polling data, confirm that we made a wise choice. In truth, my only regret is not having more resources to help out in states like Arizona or Michigan.

But it’s clear that we have unlocked something big. We know how to reach millions of Catholics, and we know how to motivate them to vote for candidates best suited to help lead our country forward.

And we have a path forward for 2020.

I can’t wait to get started.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Brian Burch is President of CatholicVote.org.

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