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Analysis: Why Catholics Backed Hillary

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2008 02:36 PM

She may be pro-abortion, but Catholics held their noses on that issue and voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania.

Exit polls found that 70 percent of Catholics voted for her.

She is the lesser of two evils, as Catholics see it, argues author George Marlin. Marlin is the author of the "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years Of Political Impact.”

He predicts, however, that many Catholics who voted for Hillary in the primaries will reverse their vote in November and go for John McCain.

Catholic blue-collar voters went heavily to Hillary in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania win, an outcome Marlin predicted last Friday in a New York Post article. He also said she'd win by a 10 point margin — which she did.

“Faithful Catholics may account for only 9 percent of the electorate, but they still hold the key to victory in the swing-state voting booths of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri,” Marlin told Newsmax in an exclusive interview.

Marlin stated, “The Reagan Democrats put Hillary Clinton over the top. When you look at the map of Pennsylvania, the statistics show 36 percent of the people who voted were Catholic; 31 percent belong to union households; and 36 percent own guns.

“The blue-collar vote from the depressed, industrial areas — the Lehigh Valley and the 'T' between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — came out in huge numbers for her. She carried the T with north of 60 percent [of the vote]. The only thing she lost in the western part of the state was Lancaster, which I can’t understand unless the Amish out there voted against her.

“She lost Pittsburgh by only a few thousand votes but everything surrounding Pittsburgh she carried.”

Marlin told Newsmax that he thinks the Jewish vote that Obama expected to carry in the mainline counties instead came out heavily for Hillary.

“Obama expected to carry Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks Counties by large numbers, yet he carried Bucks County by a small percentage, he lost Montgomery County, and I believe Delaware County was virtually a dead heat.

“In those counties among the Democrats in the more affluent area there’s a large Jewish vote and it must have been a surprise to the Obama people when they apparently went for Hillary.”

During the campaign Hillary portrayed Obama as a dove in foreign policy and cranked up her rhetoric about Iran. Many Jewish voters are concerned by Iran's growing threat to Israel.

According to Marlin, “Reagan Democrats voted for Hillary, and the big question I posed in my New York Post article is, ‘Will they stick with her in the fall?’”

The answer, he predicted, is no.

“I think Pennsylvania is very much in play in the fall and John McCain has a very good shot of carrying it, even though no Republican has carried Pennsylvania since Ronald Reagan,” Marlin asserted.

Marlin’s reasoning takes into account that four years ago George Bush got 48 percent of the vote: “He carried a significant majority of the practicing Catholics — the pro-life Catholics — and John McCain, in addition to being pro-life, can also get those votes, and may be able to peel off some of the moderate Republicans in the mainline.

“The Catholic vote still matters in Pennsylvania because it is an older Catholic population, a Rust Belt population that tends to be socially conservative.

“Meanwhile, the yuppie ‘cafeteria Catholics’ have moved out of the area and have gone to the more prosperous states. So there is a disproportionately large number of practicing Catholics in the Rust-Belt states — Pennsylvania probably having the largest number. They came out in droves for Hillary Tuesday and gave her the victory she needed.

“Clinton succeeded, even though her leftist views on social issues mirrored those of her opponent. Pennsylvania Catholics view her as the lesser of two evils, especially after Obama's remarks about ‘bitter’ small-town voters ‘clinging’ to guns and religion and bias.”

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