Bush, Kerry, and a Battle for Catholics ; as Bush Meets with Pope, the Once-Democratic Bloc Is Fluid, despite Kerry's Catholicism

By Linda Feldmann writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 4, 2004 | Go to article overview

Bush, Kerry, and a Battle for Catholics ; as Bush Meets with Pope, the Once-Democratic Bloc Is Fluid, despite Kerry's Catholicism


Linda Feldmann writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


When George W. Bush meets with the Pope Friday at the Vatican, the third such visit of this president's term, it will be tempting to see a non-Catholic president reaching out to Roman Catholic voters as he runs for reelection.

Catholics represent nearly 23 percent of American voters; both major presidential campaigns are ramping up their efforts to woo Catholics, along with other faith groups. And with Democratic Sen. John Kerry poised to become the first Catholic major-party nominee since John F. Kennedy, the nexus of politics and Catholicism is under the microscope to a degree unprecedented in more than 40 years.

But a profound shift in voter behavior since the 1960 election has rendered the old analysis meaningless. "There is no real Catholic vote to speak of," says John Kenneth White, a political scientist at Catholic University. "The real split in American politics today is between those [of all faiths] who attend services frequently and those who go seldom or not at all."

In 1960, when Kennedy was elected, the divide between Catholics and white Protestants was real. Three-fourths of Catholics supported Kennedy and three-fourths of white Protestants backed the Republican nominee, Richard Nixon.

Today, non-Latino voters who identify themselves as Catholics - without regard to frequency of church attendance - break down along political lines that tend to mirror the electorate as a whole. When Latino Catholics are factored in, the "Catholic vote" leans Democratic in general and toward Kerry for president.

Even the stickiest of issues that go to the center of the intersection of religion and politics show Catholic views virtually identical to overall opinion. On abortion, 34 percent of Catholic voters and 36 percent of all voters believe it should be "generally available to those who want it," according to a new CBS News poll. On the issue of whether it's "appropriate for political candidates to talk about their religious beliefs as part of their political campaigns," 49 percent of Catholic voters said it was, versus 50 percent of voters overall.

Bush's task and newest move

For Bush, the task of reaching "his" Catholic voters is easier; Bush Catholics gather regularly in one place, either for mass or other church functions. Kerry's Catholics are less likely to gather regularly.

From day one, the Bush White House has reached out to conservative religious leaders as a core activity of its time in office. Now that it's battling hard for a second term, the Bush team is reaching out to religious voters so aggressively that congregations could face challenges to their tax-exempt status.

On Tuesday, an e-mail from a Bush-Cheney campaign official in Pennsylvania provided to reporters by Bush opponents demonstrated this level of outreach. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bush, Kerry, and a Battle for Catholics ; as Bush Meets with Pope, the Once-Democratic Bloc Is Fluid, despite Kerry's Catholicism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.