Catholics Share Bishops' Concerns about Religious Liberty
But Catholic Voters Back Obama on Social Issues
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act that offers free contraception to women on employer health care plans goes into effect, though many religious institutions have a one-year reprieve. Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops' concerns about restrictions on religious liberty – including the contraceptive mandate – generally agree with the bishops' concerns. Yet the bishops' protests against these policies have not drawn much more interest among Catholics than among the general public. And there are no significant differences in the presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard about the bishops' protests and those who have not.
Nearly two-thirds of Catholics (64%) have heard at least a little about the bishops' protests, but just 22% of Catholics say they have heard a lot about them. Moreover, only about a third of Catholic churchgoers (32%) say their priest has spoken out on this issue at Mass.
By a 56% to 36% margin, Catholics who are aware of the bishops' protests say they agree with the bishops' concerns. Among all Americans who are aware of the protests, there is less support for the bishops' position: 41% agree with the bishops' concerns, while 47% disagree.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds large majorities of Catholics are very or somewhat satisfied with the leadership provided by Catholic nuns and sisters in the U.S. (83%), their own parish priests (82%), their diocesan bishop (74%), the pope (74%) and American bishops in general (70%).
Neither Obama nor Mitt Romney has established a consistent lead among Catholic voters. Currently, 51% of Catholic registered voters support or lean toward Obama, while 42% support or lean toward Romney. Among all registered voters, 50% favor Obama, while 43% back Romney.
The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life conducts surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world. As part of the Washington-based Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization, the Pew Forum does not take positions on policy debates or any of the issues it covers.
SOURCE Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the PressBack to top