The Catholic vote could be the key to victory in the 2012 presidential election and that voting block is breaking for Mitt Romney, conservative thinker and best-selling author George Marlin tells Newsmax.TV.
Marlin, author of the book, “The American Catholic Voter,” a historic look at the influence of Catholic voters, said that key swing states with heavy Catholic populations went for Obama in 2008 but may throw him “out of office” this time around.
“The key swing states of Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, in particular have heavy Catholic populations, heavy Catholic older populations,” Marlin said. “Those are swing states. Obama carried them all last time. In 2004 Kerry only carried Pennsylvania with 51 percent of the vote and Michigan with 51 percent of the vote.
“So, in addition to the economic woes within those Rust Belt states, you have an older Catholic population. Generically you have cafeteria Catholics, the younger Catholics go more on Christmas and Easter and don’t care about their faiths during the year and older demographic church-going Catholics vote along social lines as well,” he said. “So when it comes to religious liberties, when it comes to same sex marriage, these Rust Belt Catholics in these key swing states can make the difference and can throw Obama out of office.
“So I think the church-going, practicing older Catholics will be the key to this election and I think they are breaking for Romney at the moment,” Marlin added.
Marlin, who served as executive director as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under New York Gov. George Pataki, pointed to the Catholic vote in Wisconsin which helped Gov. Scott Walker push back the recall effort.
“In terms of the Wisconsin race, what you have to keep in mind is that 35 percent of Wisconsin is Catholic. A lot of Germans settled there back in the late 19th Century. They were farmers, while Irish Catholics who came in the 19th Century generally settled in the inner cities.” Marlin said. “But having said that, the exit polls, everyone seemed to agree were pretty skewed. But even if they weren’t, Mr. Obama has something to worry about here, two issues. First of all, I believe the economic issues will dominate this election.
“However, when you look at the Rust Belt states and the Midwestern Catholic states where it’s an aging population, they are more populated with practicing Catholics, for whom certain social issues matter – abortion, funding abortion, gay marriage, the whole issue of religious liberty with the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “So, in a tightly contested election, which we can expected this to be, in a state where Wisconsin, if two or three percent of those voters, Catholics in particular, come out in the numbers they came out most recently in this recall, Mr. Obama could have problems and in a tight race, that 2 or 3 percent difference who vote primarily on conservative social issues and conservative Catholic issues Wisconsin, like many of the states in the Midwest and the Rust Belt, could go to Mr. Romney in November.”
Recent research shows that 16 percent of the evangelical Christians are undecided and that a third of those undecided evangelicals will never vote for a Mormon. However, Marlin, whose most recent book is “Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue State Conservative,” said Catholics do not have the same issues with Romney’s Mormon faith as evangelical Christians.
“In my judgment they do not. As someone who grew up in the inner cities of New York City, we Catholics know what it is to be on the receiving end of bigotry. Historically the bigotry against Catholics goes back to its earliest days,” Marlin said. “John Jay of New York who was the first Chief Justice of the United States was a blatant anti-Catholic, used to lead the parade, the anti-pope parade that was in New York City back in the 1790s.
“So we know what it is to get the back of the hand of bigotry. So when it comes to other Christian sects I don’t think we have as a whole a serious problem with Mitt Romney’s religious background because from our own experience,” he concluded. “It appears to me that evangelicals have a bigger problem with Romney’s Mormon religion that Catholics do.”
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