Gallup: 58% oppose Obama’s executive order on abortion

February 4, 2009 by Taylor Marshall  
Filed under Culture, Headlines

I find it interesting that the President Obama once claimed that decisions about abortion and the beginning of human life were “above his pay grade” and yet now he’s making executive orders in regard to them. 58% of Americans disagree with the President’s decision to reverse the “Mexico City Policy”. Obama’s decision is both “above [his] paygrade” and contrary to the convictions of people he represents.

Full story from The Weekly Standard:

Barack Obama signed an executive order late in the afternoon on Friday, January 23 to allow taxpayer funds to go to groups overseas that perform or promote abortions. To minimize press coverage, he signed the order in the absence of reporters and photographers, and the White House waited until 7:00 p.m. to issue a press release, in which the president said: “I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate” on abortion.


A tale of two polls

October 17, 2008 by Eric James Wilson  
Filed under Faith, Headlines, Politics

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With every vote being so crucial in this election, it’s no wonder there’s great interest in the minds of this nation’s 67 million Catholics and how they plan on voting on November 4.  Swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida have significant Catholic populations and it is quite likely that Catholics may decide who occupies the White House and the Capitol in January.  For decades, American Catholics were considered a solid  part of the Democrats’ base, but as they increasingly become the “party of death,” Catholics are rethinking this relationship.

Since it is the time in our nation’s life when a new poll du jour is touted by this organization or another while pundits say polls don’t matter and the media report on them as though it were our national fever, it goes without saying these polls have a thing or two to say about Catholic life in America.  Just like those talking heads who are the meteorologists of our Republic, I think we should heed the results with skepticism – especially with regards to what they say about Catholics.  A couple of polls announced in the last week highlight the difference between those individuals who understand Catholics and ask the right questions and those who don’t have a clue.

According to the results of a poll released last week, sponsored by Faith in Public Life, “younger Catholics more strongly support Obama, abortion rights, and more active government than older Catholics.”  The data claims that 60% of Catholics between the ages of 18 and 34 say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.  Perhaps even more shocking is this survey found 50% of older Catholics hold a similar view.

I was immediately skeptical of this survey given my own experience as a young Catholic.  Maybe it’s just me, but the Catholics I know, especially the younger ones, are more fervent in Faith and committed to Church teachings than ever before.  Just take a look at the types of young men entering the seminaries.  They are increasingly more conservative, more traditional, and more faithful.

With this skepticism, I decided to take a look at the actual questions the survey asked.  First of all, the poll asks respondents to self identify with a particular religious group, and 23% of the young adults surveyed identified as Catholics.  This is all well and good, but being Catholic means more than calling yourself such.  There are seven precepts of the Church every Catholic must follow including weekly Mass attendance.

As the Catechism says, these are obligatory laws “meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor.”  So a natural follow up question to anyone who calls themselves Catholic is, “How often do you go to Mass?”  The Faith in Public Life survey doesn’t ask this question, but it did find that 35% of all young adults polled (not just Catholics) attend “religious services” at least once a week.

Unfortunately, the organization that put this poll together and the media that takes it seriously are more interested in showing how self-identified Catholics reject Church teachings than they are interested in finding out the opinions of faithful, practicing Catholics.

The Faith and American Politics Survey asked those who attend “religious services” once a month if the clergy at the respondent’s place of worship ever speak out about the issue of abortion.  44% of young adults (aged 18-34) said their clergy had spoken out against keeping abortion legal.  Additionally, 25% also said their religious beliefs had the biggest influence on their thoughts on the issue of abortion.

Yesterday [today], a new poll about Catholics and issues important to them was released by people who “get it.”  Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, held a press conference from Rome and Washington’s National Press Club, where he announced the results of the national poll, Moral Issues and Catholic Voters, commissioned by the K of C.

Mr. Anderson stressed the fact that although the economy is the issue at the forefront of everyone’s mind (57% of registered voters and 60% of practicing Catholics say this is the number one issue of the election),  voters prefer a candidate who shares their values.

The two main issues addressed in the survey were abortion and same-sex “marriage” and how average Catholics feel about these moral questions.  An important conclusion is the surprising consensus among Americans about abortion.  Speaking from Rome, Mr. Anderson said the labels of pro-choice or pro-life are no longer adequate and do a disservice to the overall debate because the phrases “magnify division.”

For example, 44% of Americans describe themselves as pro-life and 50% say they are pro-choice, but when asked about the abortion issue in more precise terms, an important concept emerges – 84% of Americans believe abortion should be significantly restricted.  This sentiment flies in the face of Roe v. Wade which currently makes abortion legal during all nine months of pregnancy.

The thing that sets this poll apart from the Faith and American Politics Survey is the fact the Knights of Columbus know what it means to be Catholic.  During today’s press conference, Mr. Anderson cautioned the media, pollsters, and pundits that Catholics are not a “monolithic voting bloc” and are distinguished by two sub-groups, practicing Catholics, which this survey identified as those who attend Mass at least once a month (which I think is pretty weak since Catholics are expected to go at least once a week), and non-practicing Catholics, those who were raised Catholics and for whatever reason have fallen away from the Church, and thus, her teaching.

The Moral Issues and Catholic Voters poll found a distinct difference between practicing and non-practicing Catholics.  46% of non-practicing Catholics, for example, believe same-sex couples should be allowed to legally “marry,” compared to only 22% of practicing Catholics.  The differences, I suspect, would be much different if practicing Catholics were considered to be those who abide by the Church’s precept of weekly attendance at Mass.

Who would practicing Catholic voters choose in the McCain-Obama match up?  The answer is unknown since the Knights of Columbus decided not to ask partisan questions in their poll.  One thing is for certain, though – this will be an historic election for Catholic voters.

By Eric Wilson.

Read other articles by Eric Wilson at


Palin=More Women Voters

September 9, 2008 by Alexandra Windsor  
Filed under Politics

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The new polling data coming out in the last couple days has to be all take with a grain of salt.  We need a week to let the effects of the convention and news of Palin’s nomination settle down so that we can get some equilibrium.  More importantly we need to find out if the change in national numbers will translate into gains in the crucial swing states.

BUT . . . . One thing I do feel entirely confident saying is this: The much debated question of whether Palin would actually make a difference with women has been answered in the affirmative.

The Rasumussen tracking poll for today reported:

McCain leads by four points among men while Obama leads by three among women. On Tuesday, when Obama’s lead peaked, he had a fourteen point advantage among women.

An 11 point swing! That’s huge and can’t be explained as simply a slight shift that may be a result of the margin of error or pollster induced error.  Perhaps those 11 points won’t hold up but I think it’s safe to say that regardless, Palin will result in a net gain in women votes for the GOP ticket.


UPDATE: The ABC/WaPo polls has even starker numbers:

White women have moved from 50-42 percent in Obama’s favor before the conventions to 53-41 percent for McCain now, a 20-point shift in the margin that’s one of the single biggest post-convention changes in voter preferences.

Link is PDF