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CATHOLIC REPUBLICANS & ISSUES IN THE 2004 ELECTIONS

In June 2004, Catholics for a Free Choice commissioned a survey of Catholic voters from Belden Russonello & Stewart. The survey included 2,239 Catholics who are likely voters, including an oversample of Hispanic Catholics (366 total Hispanics). Detailed below are findings on where Republican Catholics stand on social issues and the 2004 Election.


Who are Republican Catholics?

Republican Catholics are evenly male and female, and half are between the ages of 30-49. Ninety-two percent were born in the United States, 83% are white and 14% are Hispanic/Latino. Sixty-eight percent are married. They are spread out geographically, with a quarter residing in the Midwest, slightly more in both the Northeast and the South, and 21% in the West. Fifty-eight percent earn at least $50,000 annually, compared to 51% of all Catholics; 40% of Republican Catholics have a 4-year college or advanced degree, compared to 37% of all Catholics.

A third of Republican Catholics are politically active; 33% have volunteered for, donated to, or contacted a political official or candidate. More than half (57%) favor giving economic assistance to other countries.

Forty-three percent of Republican Catholics attend Mass at least once a week, which is slightly higher than the rate for all Catholics (39%); 36% of Republican Catholics report going to church a few times a year and 8% never go to church. Among all Catholics, 36% attend Mass a few times a year and 11% never go to church.

Republican Catholics and Abortion
The majority of Republican Catholics call themselves “prolife” rather than “prochoice,” and a small majority believe that abortion should not be legal.

Do you generally think of yourself as prolife or prochoice on abortion?

  Prolife Prochoice
All Catholics 45% 53%
Republicans 61% 37%
Democrats 32% 67%
Independents 43% 54%




Do you agree or disagree that it should be legal for a woman to have an abortion?

  Agree Disagree
All Catholics 61% 38%
Republicans 47% 53%
Democrats 73% 26%
Independents 66% 33%

 

Republican Catholics and Stem Cell Research
Catholics of all political affiliations support stem cell research.

Do you support or oppose allowing scientists to use stem cells obtained from very early human embryos to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and Parkinson’s?

  Support Oppose
All Catholics 72% 26%
Republicans 66% 23%
Democrats 79% 20%
Independents 73% 26%

Republican Catholics and Tax Cuts
Catholics of all political affiliations support canceling some of the federal tax cuts and using the money to shore up social services.

Do you support or oppose canceling some of the federal tax cuts and using the money to protect Social Security and improve Medicare? To improve public education?

  To protect Social Security and improve Medicare? To improve public education?
  Support Oppose Support Oppose
All Catholics 74% 26% 68% 31%
Republicans 55% 45% 51% 49%
Democrats 89% 11% 70% 29%
Independents 80% 20% 85% 15%


Republican Catholics and Presidential Choice
In June 2004, the total Catholic vote was divided evenly between President George Bush and Senator John Kerry. Both candidates enjoyed a large margin of partisan support. Independent voters were split between the two candidates, and 30% remained undecided.

If the presidential election were held today, would you vote for the Republican President George W. Bush, the Democrat John Kerry, or are you undecided?

  Bush Kerry Undecided
All Catholics 40% 40% 18%
Republicans 80% 10% 10%
Democrats 8% 76% 15%
Independents 31% 35% 30%

 


Republican Catholics, Bishops and Communion

Eleven percent of Republican Catholics report that the bishops’ views are “very important” in determining who to vote for, while 63% say they are “not very” or “not at all important.” Catholics of all political affiliations do not believe that there is a religious obligation for either Catholic voters or politicians to vote a certain way, nor do the majority of all subgroups think bishops should deny communion to prochoice Catholics or prochoice Catholic politicians.

Do you believe voters who are Catholic have a religious obligation to vote against candidates who support legal abortion? Do you believe politicians who are Catholic have a religious obligation to vote on issues the way Catholic bishops recommend?

  Religious obligation for voters? Religious obligation for politicians?
  Yes No Yes No
All Catholics 24% 74% 16% 83%
Republicans 39% 58% 24% 74%
Democrats 20% 78% 9% 90%
Independents 12% 87% 13% 86%

Do you approve or disapprove of Catholic bishops denying communion to Catholics who support abortion? To politicians who are Catholic and support legal abortion?

  Catholics Catholic Politicians
  Approve Disapprove Approve Disapprove
All Catholics 22% 76% 20% 78%
Republicans 37% 60% 34% 63%
Democrats 10% 89% 9% 90%
Independents 18% 79% 15% 83%


For more information, visit www.catholicvote.net; or contact the Public Policy department at Catholics for a Free Choice, (202) 986 6093; or email publicpolicy@catholicsforchoice.org.


Catholics for a Free Choice is a non-partisan organization. We do not support or oppose candidates for public office. The poll is an educational tool whose sole purpose is to educate opinion leaders about Catholic attitudes toward social and policy issues.

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