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New Poll: Catholic Voters Favor Clinton for President

October 3, 2016

As the two Catholic candidates for vice president prepare to face off in a debate on Tuesday at Longwood University, a new poll of likely Catholic voters shows that Clinton leads Trump. The poll also shows that Catholics do not toe the hierarchy’s line on abortion, healthcare and religious refusals. Since 1972, the Catholic vote has been a reliable bellwether for the results of Election Day.

Key findings include:

• 46 percent of Catholic voters support Clinton, while 40 percent support Trump.

• Latinos, Catholic women and Catholic millennials show the largest support for Clinton over Trump.

• Sixty percent of Catholic voters say that the views of the Catholic hierarchy are not important to them when they are deciding who to vote for in the presidential election.

• Six in ten Catholic voters do not feel an obligation to vote the way the bishops recommend.

• Sixty percent of Catholic voters say that abortion can be a moral choice.

• Seventy-two percent believe that abortion should be available to pregnant women who have contracted the Zika virus.

• Seventy percent of Catholics do not think that companies should be allowed to use the owner’s religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to a customer or employee.

Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice said, “The Catholic vote is like a jump ball in basketball—every election it comes into play and both parties try to claim it as their own. As it represents 25 percent of the electorate, considerable effort goes into trying to determine which team will grab it. However, this new poll shows what we’ve always known: Catholics are concerned with social justice and compassion and do not vote with the bishops, no matter how much the bishops try to project their own beliefs onto this section of the electorate.”

Download the entire poll here.

Belden Russonello Strategists carried out a nationally representative survey of 1,105 Americans from September 8 to 13, 2016 using the GfK Knowledge Panel.