Pew Poll: Obama vs. the Bishops


Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

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37 Responses

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      Not a yawn if losing the Catholic vote loses Obama the presidency.  Wake up, Ryan, and try not to be so pissy. ;-PReport

      • I guess. You may or may not know this, but I’m not exactly manning the bulwarks for Obama. I don’t care all that deeply about his reelection. I care more about getting policy right, and he did it (this one time, thank God [oh!! puns!!]).Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        According to the 2008 Exit Poll by CNN, Obama got 54% of the vote of Catholics. I’m perfectly willing to bet today that Obama will not get less than 50% of the vote than either Romney or Santorum according to the 2012 National Exit Poll from CNN.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          Ditto this.  An important question here is how intense is the opposition to the policy among opposing Catholics?  Polls are useful, but they really aren’t very good at measuring intensity.  So of that 55% of Catholics who favor an exemption, it’s possible that a substantial portion of them aren’t saying, “it’s an evil conspiracy and I’m going to sell my home so I can give the proceeds to the anti-Obama campaign,” but, “yeah, the Church should probably get an exemption…hey, shiny object!”Report

          • Well, this is a historically unprecedented attack on the Church, and really all of Christendom. Obama might as well be disemboweling all Catholics on the White House front lawn, because this is the worst thing anyone has ever done.Report

  1. Avatar Kimsie says:

    So, you’re saying that the Catholics, of all people would vote against Obama? Over this little thing?

    The bishops have already been busy denying communion to those catholics (like kerry) who support abortion in their voting.

    they’ve already called for people to not support Obama, or people of his ilk.

    didn’t work the last time.

    … do you remember when Romney would win in a landslide?Report

  2. Avatar Liberty60 says:

    The bishops have very little real control over the elusive “Catholic vote”.

    Unlike the bishops, with their laser-like focus on uteri, most Catholics care about a range of issues, from Afghanistan to taxes, and contraception is pretty far down that list.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      Yeah, I think old white guys in the Beltway and conservative commentators underestimate how much the average Catholic parishioner just doesn’t give a fuck about what the Bishop’s say about anything after the last 30 years of child sex scandals.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Lib60 & Jesse, the furor is over religious liberty, not contraception.  I’m surprised Barack Obama could do anything to get American Catholics on the side of the bishops, but it looks like he might have succeeded.


        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

          I point to my post further up this thread.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Yes, Jesse, your ho-hum was noted the first time.  Ho-hum.  😉

            I’ll take yr bet for a buck.  I’m not predicting the electorate’s reaction, I’m hoping that it reacts to this stunt correctly.

            I’m at arm’s length from the actual theological or moral truth claims; I don’t care about contraception itself either way—I don’t oppose it, I don’t think we owe free contraceptives to anyone as a human or political right.

            I think Cathy Young of Reason gets it right:

            The issue is where the line should be drawn; and, for many Americans, that line is crossed when Catholic institutions such as hospitals, schools and charities—with a narrow exemption for churches—are forced to buy employee insurance policies that cover services prohibited by Catholic teachings. Catholics who use contraception, and Protestants who have little sympathy for the Catholic Church’s anti-birth-control stance, may still be offended by the state dictating to the church in such matters.

            President Obama has picked the wrong fight. Rather than expand birth control options for women, this policy may undermine already shaky support for the health reform legislation. Suddenly, predictions that ObamaCare will result in less freedom and more bureaucratic authority do not seem so outlandish.

            And bingo that last bit double.



  3. Avatar BSK says:

    “Lib60 & Jesse, the furor is over religious liberty, not contraception.”

    48% of Americans, which is a non-majority, agreeing that one predominant faith deserves exemption from an aspect of a controversial health reform is hardly evidence that the furor has to do with religious liberty.

    Americans will demonstrate a true belief in religious liberty when they overwhelmingly support religous liberty extended to each and every faith.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      Catholics siding with the bishops over Obama 55-39% is the interesting part.  I would not have thought this possible on any issue.

      What it means, we shall see.  Perhaps nothing, perhaps everything.  We’re into some virgin territory here.  The Obama Admin’s attack on the Roman Church here is without historical precedent.Report


        It’s true. This is the worst thing anyone has ever done to the “Roman Church”. Good God, get a freaking grip, you awful troll.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Ryan, the Obama’s Admin’s attack on the Catholic Church is without precedent in American history.  Dude, pls, it’s a comments section and charitable reading is mandatory.  😉Report

          • Avatar David says:

            I would hardly characterise this as an “attack on the Catholic Church.” If you want one of those, you need to come across the pond and take a trip back in time a few centuries over here, to back when we were actually banning them from worship and putting their leaders to death.

            From our perspective, you are just being silly. So businesses that happen to claim to be “Catholic” have to obey the same laws that businesses run by Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists, Pastafarians, Professed Jedi, Messianic Reformist Calvinists, and any other religious persuasion do, and it’s an “assault” on the Catholic Church? You’re being far too silly, and to an outsider’s perspective it is painfully, possibly in a sadomasochistic way obvious that this is more about reaching for any possible straw of an issue to wedge against a very popular sitting presidential figure.Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

            Blaine Amendments in the late 19th century were explicitly created to block public funds from being used for parochial schools. This to my mind is a substantially greater attack on Catholicism than requiring insurance companies to cover contraception if the employer won’t provide that coverage.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              Nob, Blaine failed on the nat’l level.  The Obama Admin’s attack on the Catholic Church is worse, as it’s purely ideological and contrary to the spirit of the First Amendment.

              Even if Blaine was worse, that’s an academic discussion.  Obama has American Catholics siding with their bishops.  This is quite a political achievement.

              Good point of order per history, though.   Perhaps some other time…Report

              • Avatar James says:

                Obama has American Catholics siding with their bishops? On what planet?

                The Catholic Church is so out of date and so out of touch that they can’t even get 10% of their membership to show up for church the weekend of christmas. The polls you’re quoting are assuming that the people answering are actual catholics and not just right wing goons claiming to be Catholic to tilt the poll.

                98% of Catholics use contraception. Less than 50% of any “Catholic” hospital’s employees are actually Catholic, and you know damn well even less than that of the patients are. Treat ’em like any other employer, they don’t have the right to force employees to worship their fake god or follow their phoney baloney religious code.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        What is the context for “without historical precedent?”  While I enjoyed Ryan’s quip, I suspect Tom wasn’t using such a broad context.  My mind immediately went to the denial of plural marriage for Mormons.  But Tom may not even be referring to a religious oppression context at all (even though it’s easy to assume that, given his “attack on the church” language), but perhaps only an electoral context.  And if it’s only an electoral context, I can’t immediately come up with a counterfactual to his claim.

        Care to clarify for us, sir?  I am curious.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          OK, so tom and I were writing at the same time.  But if he’s talking about American history, what about the Mormon issue?Report

          • Avatar Murali says:

            No one gives a s*** about the mormons. They are too small and weird a constituency such that limitations on their religious expression will not have serious electoral consequences.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley says:


              Well, that’s what I’m asking Tom.  Is his “historically unprecedented” referring to the scale of the attack, or to the electoral effect?  They’re different arguments, of course, and one is more defensible than the other.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Dr. Hanley—James—you & I get along famously when we don’t directly address each other. Separately, I think we’re great boons to this here League.  Your work and comments here of late have been shining beacons of clarity.  Cheers, and that’s straight up.


              • Avatar BSK says:

                A comment seems to bhave gone missing… Hmmmmm…Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                So when I ask a sincere question for clarification, because I might actually be on your side, you’ll still dodge it?


              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                If I urban dictionary “99” will I be on the right track to figuring out what the heck this new expression signifies?

                Good lord, but I am one un-hip Gen X-Millennial cusper.


              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I could only dream that it would end up in the urban dictionary.  Look here instead.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew says:

                Perhaps in a sense it has.  Definition #2 for “99”:

                2. 99
                Putting your age as 99 on Myspace so that people can’t troll you by your real age and spam you or send you stupid messages like “whazzup?”
                I had my real age on Myspace but I got too many douchebags trying to hit me up, so I 99’d myself.


              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Beautiful, clearly working off a similar concept as us social scientists.

                “99” is also used quite frequently to make us believe prices aren’t quite as high as they really are.  It’s an amazingly useful number.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

          Even electoral contests had the Nativists and Know-Nothings, like Fillmore’s doomed 1856 campaign. So there’s been electoral contests where attacks on the church were quite common. There’s also JFK’s questions about Rome, the fact that there were laws prohibiting office holders from being Catholic at the state level well into the 1890s and incorporation of the 1st amendment….etc. etc.Report

      • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

        The Obama Admin’s attack on the Roman Church here is without historical precedent.

        I suppose that depends on what you mean by “historical,” and what you mean by “precedent.”

        This is a rule that has been in place since 2000, for institutions that employ more than 200 people (which would certainly include most hospitals).   The HHS ruling simply changed the threshhold to institutions that employ at least 15 people.

        So, while I have some sympathy for the “religious freedom” argument, I personally think the administration drew the line at pretty much the right place.   You are, of course, free to disagree;  but this is not some historic attack on religion, or anything close to it.

        You know, the dial doesn’t always have to be turned to eleven.Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        Prove that this shows a popular furor over the first Amendment. Until you can do that, please stop saying it.Report