U.S. Catholics are Politically Divided

The numbers are evenly divided between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party

The “Catholic vote” is a prized one among U.S. politicians as about 51 million Catholics are included in the American voter list, making them the single most populous United States religious institution. According to a recent Pew research, although Catholics tend to swing towards the Democratic Party, the religious group never voted en-bloc for one particular political group. The Trump era has witnessed the Catholic vote evenly cleaved between Democrats and Republicans, much like the larger American public.

The last few years have shown Catholic registered voters to identify with both the GOP and the Democratic Party in equal proportions. 47 percent voted for Democrats and 46 percent for Republicans. As per exit polls of U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 elections, 50 percent of Catholics have given their votes to the Democratic Party and 49 percent to Republicans. The report shows white Catholics tend to vote GOP and Hispanic Catholics are big backers of Democrats. Asian and African-Americans constitute about three percent of the American Catholic population. As a whole the Catholic votes ultimately balance out at the polls.

In matters of specific issues, Catholics are found to espouse their political leanings and express opinions which are in tandem with the positions taken by their respective political parties. Church teachings become a secondary cause of opinion formation. Even hot-button issues like abortion show Catholic political support to be divided among the Democrats and the Republicans. 55 percent of Catholic Republicans say abortion should be made illegal in most or all cases. Identical to the proportionate overall Republican view. 64 percent of Catholics Democrats want abortion to be legal across the board. Not that far off from the empirical 76 percent Democratic support. Catholics Democrats have taken a pro-abortion view of the matter.

A similar divide is among Catholics on several of other issues like views on immigration and poverty. These are the two areas where the church has been seen to be quite active. 64 percent of the polled Catholic Democrats say government help to poor benefits the latter as it is not possible for people to climb out of poverty until their fundamental requirements are satisfied. Similarly, 67 percent Republican Catholics hold opposite view of the same issue.

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