Tags: Pope | Caused | Party | Switch | Among | American | Catholics

Pope Caused Party Switch Among American Catholics

Thursday, 07 April 2005 12:00 AM

Green, who studies religion in U.S. politics, said that the pope "helped energize the more traditional parts of the Catholic community who believed the abortion issue should be their top priority."

"There's no question that Catholics are voting more Republican now than in past elections," he added.

Green's theory is backed up by polling data that shows that in 1960 Democrats led Republicans by a margin of 71-10. By 2004 that margin was reduced to 44-41, in a time which encompassed the 26-year rule of Pope John Paul II. The greatest shifts in these numbers took place in the 1970s and 1980s.

So, as some liberals saw Pope John Paul II as a dividing force on moral issues, there is no question that his influence helped align a significant amount of practicing Catholics with the pro-life party. This was particularly true in 2004, when President Bush outpolled Senator Kerry (a Catholic) among Catholics by a margin of 52-47, as several bishops objected to John Kerry's liberal views on social issues.

"A substantial number embraced both the man and his beliefs and moved gradually toward an alliance with evangelical Protestants and the Republican Party based on support for life in all its stages," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "That alliance has become the bedrock of Republican power."

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Green, who studies religion in U.S. politics, said that the pope "helped energize the more traditional parts of the Catholic community who believed the abortion issue should be their top priority." "There's no question that Catholics are voting more Republican now than in...
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2005-00-07
Thursday, 07 April 2005 12:00 AM
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