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Monday, 12 November 2012 17:19

Religion: Obama and Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Born again, Mormon votes

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religious-politicalIt has always been said that in polite company one should never talk about politics or religion. Today, let's do both.


There was a lot of discussion throughout this election about religion. Would born-again Christians vote for Mormon Mitt Romney?

Would Barack Obama lose white Catholic support? What impact would Obama's handling of U.S. relations with Israel have on Jewish voters?

From the exit polling, we can shed light on these matters.

BORN-AGAINS: This election, as was the case four years ago, 26 percent of the electorate call themselves born-again Christians. Four years ago, John McCain thumped Barack Obama by a 50-point margin among this constituency. This year, Mormon Mitt Romney beat Obama by an even wider 57 points.

So, yes, born-again Christians will vote for a Mormon, and they will do so in heavy numbers.

WHITE CATHOLICS: Obama's share of the white Catholic vote slipped from 47 percent to 40 percent over the past four years, representing a drop of 7 points. Obama's share of the white Protestant vote slipped from 34 percent to 30 percent, for a drop of 4 points.

So, yes, Obama's vote among white Catholics fell by more than it did among white Protestants.

It is interesting to note that the two groups in which Romney did well--white Catholics and white Protestants--both have declined in size over the past four years. The white Protestant portion of the electorate decreased from 42 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012.

The white Catholic portion of the electorate decreased from 19 percent to 18 percent during the same period.

JEWISH VOTERS: In 2008, Obama won 78 percent of all Jewish voters.

This year, it was 69 percent, a significant 9-point drop. Compare that to Obama's 3-point drop among all Protestants and his 4-point drop among all Catholics and you can see that Obama's support among Jewish voters fell more than it did among other religious groups.

CHURCH ATTENDANCE: Church attendance is an important variable that relates to voting preference. Let's take a look:

-- In 2008, 43 percent of "weekly" churchgoers voted for Obama compared to 39 percent in 2012, a drop of 4 percent.

-- In 2008, 57 percent of "occasional" churchgoers voted for Obama compared to 55 percent in 2012, a drop of 2 percent.

-- In 2008, 67 percent of "voters" who never go to church voted for Obama compared to 62 percent in 2012, a drop of 5 percent.

By the way, over the past four years, "weekly" church attendance among voters is up 2 points, from a 40 percent to a 42 percent share of the electorate. At the same time, "occasional" church attendance is down 2 points, from 42 percent to 40 percent. The portion of the electorate that "never" goes to church is up by 1 point, from 16 percent to 17 percent. 

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