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Catholics in Public Life: Challenges to Faith in Democracy and are projects of Catholics for a Free Choice designed to expose the myths and explain the reality behind the so-called Catholic Vote.

Catholics comprise roughly one-quarter of the electorate in the US. They tend to live in states that cast the highest number of electoral votes in presidential elections and as such, are one of the most sought after group of voters in America.

However, to make matters difficult for pollsters and politicians seeking their votes, the “Catholic vote” is probably the best example of a swing vote of any identifiable group in the United States. So, while cultivating the Catholic vote has become a top priority of both the Democratic and Republican parties, there is no monolithic Catholic vote, and there never has been.

One of the many misconceptions about Catholics is that they vote as their bishops would like them to. Although reproductive health issues are not a primary concern to Catholic voters, the bishops have consistently claimed otherwise. Polls, including those available through, show that the majority of Catholics disagree with the bishops about the morality and availability of contraception and family planning, emergency contraception, stem cell research and abortion. In fact, on these and many other issues, Catholics tend to mirror the electorate at large.

The current furor over whether prochoice Catholic politicians may receive communion is but one facet of the constant struggle between lay Catholics and their bishops, the teachings of the church and the reality of Catholics’ daily lives, and the separation between church and state.

The materials on this website are meant to help lay Catholics, policy makers, the media and interested passers-by steer their way through point and counterpoint. Please contact us if you have any questions or thoughts.

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