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Catholic Voting Patterns and the Latino Effect in the 2004 Presidential Election
Unformatted Document Text:  12-13-05b “Catholic Voting Patterns and the Latino Effect in the 2004 Presidential Election” Authors: Frank Ridzi, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse NY 13214 ## email not listed ## (315) 445-4480 Matthew Loveland, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse NY 13214 Jillian Ruhland, Teaching and Research Assistant, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse NY 13214 Catholics have risen to political prominence in the U.S. despite a history of racial and religious discrimination (Feagin and Feagin 1999). Their current importance within the political process is attributable not only to their sheer size (25% of the U.S. population) and high voter turnout, but also to their concentration in densely populated regions with high numbers of electoral votes (Menendez 2000, Weber 2000). Catholics have traditionally sided with the Democratic party due in part to its pro-immigrant platform and history of social concern and spending (Menendez 2000). Catholic support for the party, however, was at its highest in the 1960 election of John F. Kennedy, and the common sense assumption that Catholics are strongly in the Democratic camp is in need of empirical verification. In the Presidential elections of the 1950’s, and up to the 2004 Presidential election, Catholic support for the Democratic party can best be described as lukewarm (Manza and Brooks 1996). Further, in recent years Republicans have transparently attempted to curry favor with a growing number of Catholics, enticing them away from Democratic loyalty. In fact, as of Spring 2004, the Pew Forum on Religion found that 41% of U.S. Catholics self identified as Republicans as compared with 44% as Democratic (The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life 2004). This is a clear change from the early 1970’s when the Democratic party claimed over 50% and Republican support numbered in the teens. This combination of factors, Catholics being a large percentage of voters who are very likely to turnout, and a growing sense that the Catholic vote cannot be assumed Democratic, 1

Authors: Loveland, Matthew. and Ridzi, Frank.
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12-13-05b
“Catholic Voting Patterns and the Latino Effect in the 2004 Presidential Election”
Authors:
Frank Ridzi, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse NY
13214
(315) 445-4480
Matthew Loveland, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse
NY 13214
Jillian Ruhland, Teaching and Research Assistant, Le Moyne College, 1419 Salt Springs Road,
Syracuse NY 13214
Catholics have risen to political prominence in the U.S. despite a history of racial and
religious discrimination (Feagin and Feagin 1999). Their current importance within the political
process is attributable not only to their sheer size (25% of the U.S. population) and high voter
turnout, but also to their concentration in densely populated regions with high numbers of electoral
votes (Menendez 2000, Weber 2000). Catholics have traditionally sided with the Democratic party
due in part to its pro-immigrant platform and history of social concern and spending (Menendez
2000). Catholic support for the party, however, was at its highest in the 1960 election of John F.
Kennedy, and the common sense assumption that Catholics are strongly in the Democratic camp is in
need of empirical verification.
In the Presidential elections of the 1950’s, and up to the 2004 Presidential election, Catholic
support for the Democratic party can best be described as lukewarm (Manza and Brooks 1996).
Further, in recent years Republicans have transparently attempted to curry favor with a growing
number of Catholics, enticing them away from Democratic loyalty. In fact, as of Spring 2004, the
Pew Forum on Religion found that 41% of U.S. Catholics self identified as Republicans as compared
with 44% as Democratic (The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life 2004). This is a clear change
from the early 1970’s when the Democratic party claimed over 50% and Republican support
numbered in the teens. This combination of factors, Catholics being a large percentage of voters who
are very likely to turnout, and a growing sense that the Catholic vote cannot be assumed Democratic,
1


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