No religious group in America packs the political potential of the Catholic Church with over 47 million registered voters, over 25% of the eligible voters. More important, the 47 million are in 19,000 parishes, of which 146 are Latin Catholic parishes. No religious group even approaches the Catholic community in numbers, in organization, and in the ability to deliver a message to the masses through the pulpit. In total the US has over 70 million Catholics and there are over 1.1 billion worldwide.
Only once in the past 30 years have the Catholics failed to support the winning candidate for president. Once reliably Democrat, the new Catholics are 41% Independent, up from 30% in the last election. The strength of the Catholics can be even more pronounced when looking at the election state by state. There are 7 swing states identified in this election, states that total 107 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
In 2004 Bush pulled 66% of the Catholic vote in Florida and 65% in Ohio to capture the states and the election. With the Hispanic population the fastest growing sector of the US population and being predominantly Catholic, especially in swing states like Florida and border states, it is doubtful any current polls are reflecting the potential vote accurately.
Of the seven recognized swing states Florida, a state with over 2.3 million Catholics, was decided in 2004 by 363,000 votes. Pennsylvania has 3.3 million Catholics and was decided by 145,000 votes. Ohio has 2.2 million Catholics and was decided by 118,000 votes. Virginia has 1.1 million Catholics and was decided by 262,000 votes. Missouri has 1.1 million Catholics and was decided by 196,000 votes while Minnesota has 1.2 million Catholics and was decided by 99,000 votes. Finally Nevada has 480,000 Catholics and was decided by 21,000 votes.
So what does that mean? It means the winning margin in those states equaled just 15% of the Catholic vote in Florida, 4% of the Catholics in Pennsylvania and Nevada, 5% in Ohio, 8% in Minnesota, 17% in Missouri and 23% in Virginia. In other words less than 25% of the Catholics in two states and less than 15% in all the rest were enough to swing the swing states. That does not fare well for the Obama and Biden ticket or the Democratic party in particular. Most certainly the tracking polls in those states have not been adjusted to reflect the significant strength of the Catholic vote.
The fall from grace of the Democrats can be traced to the increasing liberal platform of the party over the years and especially the radial left moves toward pro-abortion, gay rights and same sex marriages, the favorite issues of the far left that dominate the Democratic platform. Obama, Biden and Pelosi have all adopted positions on those issues opposed by the Catholic Church. More recently major blunders by House Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden have aggravated the schism and that could be a major factor in the election.
There are two ways to infuriate the Vatican, home of the Catholic Church. First is to adopt positions that reject the law of the Church. Second is to go on national television and invoke the names of church scholars and say those scholars support rejecting the law. Well Pelosi invoked the name of St. Augustine and Biden invoked the name of Thomas Aquinas, both on separate appearances on NBC Meet the Press where they grossly misrepresented the teaching of the church on abortion.
Such strategic blunders in the midst of an election campaign have cost the Obama ticket the support of the Vatican and the American Bishops and the television appearances of Biden and Pelosi attempting to redefine the teachings of the Catholic Church could result in the Church setting the record straight through the 19,000 parishes across the country. There is some evidence this has already begun as a pastoral letter condemning their efforts has already been issued on the subject. Will this schism between the Democratic ticket and the Catholic Church be felt at the ballot box? If so it could cost Obama the election.