Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Democracy Corps Poll on Catholics in Election '04

From MSNBC's First Read:

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, wearing his Democracy Corps hat, yesterday released a late-February survey of 1,033 white Catholic voters, looking at "why they "pulled back from Democrats in 2004, and ways progressives can reclaim their support." Greenberg points out in the poll memo that in 1996, Clinton "carried the white Catholic vote by 7 points," but Gore lost them by 7 points in 2000 and Kerry by 13 in 2004.

Although Kerry is a Catholic, we'd note that he shied away from talking about his faith during the campaign, and that the moment when it got the most attention was when it was debated whether or not Kerry, as an abortion rights supporter, could receive Communion, with some Church leaders saying no.

Greenberg finds that in 2004, white Catholic voters "pulled back for a number of reasons - including concerns about security and values, Kerry’s seeming lack of conviction and the absence of a strong Democratic advocacy for the middle class. Today, they view the Republicans much more favorably than the Democrats." But he sees an opening for Democrats in the fact that white Catholics "remain more Democratic in their identification than in their voting: Bush’s 13-point margin over Kerry among white Catholics was 10 points higher than the Republican advantage in partisanship - leaving a large bloc of voters available to the Democrats."

So how do Democrats win over those voters? 1) "Reach across to the more traditional Catholics (those who want the Church to be 'more traditional and connected to Church teachings')." 2) "Highlight the Democrats as the middle class party, focused on work and personal responsibility." 3) "...[R]eassure broadly on values." 4) Speak more broadly about abortion, and about national security and the war. And 5) avoid lumping white Catholics in with evangelicals.


I wonder if the Dems are up to the challenge.

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