Oswald Sobrino at the Catholics in the Public Square blog posts an email from a reader who found a correlation between bishops who spoke out on pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Communion and the percentage increase in the Catholic vote in their states for Bush over 2000. (It’s not universal, however, since in Missouri Bush has a 5% decrease among Catholics despite Archbishop Burke’s leadership, although I’d love to see the results just for the St. Louis archdiocese.)
Could it be that bishops standing up for what is right can actually have an influence on what Catholics do? Could it be that the dire predictions of those who warned of a backlash against the bishops were wrong?
I’m not sure how to explain a 17% increase among Catholics in Massachusetts for Bush. Maybe we all just knew Kerry a little too well. (And don’t forget “Catholic” in the exit polls can be anyone, including those who have left their faith behind for all practical purposes. Again, it’s not broken down by “practicing” v. “non-practicing.”)
Update: A reader points me to the blog of Patrick Ruffini, a former Bush campaign staffer, who is analyzing the results by region. In this analysis, he takes a more in-depth look at the Catholic vote in the Northeast. All very interesting.