Turns Out Trump Won Catholics, But Not By 16 Points

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Nov 10, 2016 7:55 AM
Turns Out Trump Won Catholics, But Not By 16 Points

About a week ago, I wrote about an intriguing poll that said Donald Trump was up double-digits among Catholics. While I was correct in my guess that that particular poll was not quite accurate, Trump did indeed win the Catholic vote, 52 to 45. This is the first time since 2004 that the Republican candidate has won among Catholics.

Americans who attend religious services weekly also favored Trump, but by a narrower 56 percent to 40 percent margin over Clinton. Monthly worshipers also broke for Trump more narrowly, 49 percent to 46 percent.

Exit polls also indicated that Trump swung the Catholic vote back to the GOP by a 52 percent to 45 percent margin, after a majority of Catholics sided with Obama in the previous two elections.

Catholic voters generally vote nearly identically to the popular vote (which currently has each candidate at around 47 percent), meaning that Catholics voted for Trump five points higher than the nation did as a whole. Given that Catholicism is one of the more racially diverse religions in the United States, I didn't think that they would break so hard for Trump above the national average. Plus, Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine is a Catholic and often discussed his faith on the campaign trail.

While it's unclear as to the exact motivation for the Catholic vote this election cycle (and there are no shortage of candidates: the Little Sisters of the Poor case, the HHS contraception mandate, the Podesta "Catholic Spring" emails, Clinton's proud support of late-term abortion, etc.), it's clear that Catholic voters were no longer enchanted by the Democratic Party.

So, yeah, I'll admit that I underestimated my fellow Catholic voters this cycle. Mea culpa.