Religious Divide Shows Up in Presidential Poll

Monday, 22 Oct 2012 12:51 PM

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A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that religious voters are sharply divided in their support for President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The 2012 American Values Pre-Election Survey found that 97 percent of black Protestant likely voters supported Obama, who also had the support of 73 percent of religiously unaffiliated voters and 65 percent of non-Christian voters. Romney drew the support of 76 percent of white evangelical Protestants.

Other mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics, however, were sharply divided. Mainline Protestants broke for Romney by a slim majority of 52 percent with 45 percent supporting Obama. With Catholics, 49 percent supported Obama and 47 percent Romney.

Among Catholics, the divide can be found between whites and Hispanics. Some 70 percent of Hispanics and 48 percent of white Catholics have a favorable opinion of the president while 54 percent of white Catholics and 27 percent of Hispanic Catholics have a favorable view of Romney.

Half of Americans believe that Obama and Romney have religious beliefs different from their own. Some 53 percent said that Romney’s religious beliefs are somewhat or very different from their own, and 49 percent said Obama’s religious beliefs are somewhat or very different from their own.

The survey also found that 56 percent of Americans believe that religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that that cover contraception or birth control.

The contentious plan from the Obama administration has drawn fire from the Catholic Church and conservatives. The poll, however, found that 54 percent of Catholics supports the plan. However, among white Catholics, 51 percent disagree.

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