Rick Santorum & the Data Behind the Catholic, Evangelical, Youth & Women’s Vote

Wednesday, March 7, AD 2012

The divide between the truth of the election results and the punditry of the mainstream media is seemingly growing every major primary election night. Perhaps none more than the recent Super Tuesday results, especially those of Ohio. How could it possibly be that Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator won the youth vote, all voters under 44, and the married women vote? If one listens to the mainstream media, especially that of NBC, MSNBC and the New York Times one would think the only people voting for Rick Santorum would be rust belt pre-Vatican II ordained Catholic priests, and an amalgamation of southern characters such as Jed Clampett, Mr. Haney, as well as some assorted extras from the set of Deliverance. However, the true exit poll results tell us something quite different.

The mainstream media seemed shocked that Rick Santorum didn’t win the Catholic vote and won the Evangelical Vote as well as the others I indicated earlier; young people and married women. I want to delve into the nitty grtty of the statistics and demographics in a few paragraphs but first let me give you some background on those in the heartland who became liberals even though they grew up in GOP circles and folks like myself who became conservative after growing up in a Democratic household.

I grew up in a working class steel and railroad town in Ohio. My family, like many around us was Democrat in party affiliation and social conservative in our mindset. I was educated in Catholic schools (during the 1970s & 80s) and though it was the warm fuzzy era of Catholic education, our nuns and lay teachers never completely bought into the liberal model that was so the rage in cool, upscale areas.

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9 Responses to Rick Santorum & the Data Behind the Catholic, Evangelical, Youth & Women’s Vote

  • “The area west of I-75 in western Ohio might simply be some of the most conservative political real estate in America.”

    The same could be said of the area south of I-80 in Illinois, with a few exceptions such as East St. Louis and university communities like Champaign-Urbana. Our primary is less than 2 weeks away and it will be interesting to see whether the results reflect yours.

    Perhaps it ought to be emphasized here that — in my estimation — while it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for an observant Catholic at this point to vote in good conscience to reelect Obama, I don’t think we should assume that a “good” Catholic MUST or will always vote for Santorum over Romney or Gingrich or Paul. A faithful Catholic could vote for any one of them for a number of reasons and we should not presume Santorum is the one and only “true Catholic” candidate.

  • I love this:

    “Ohio voters who think Paul is too conservative went 45% for Romney. Voters who think Paul is not conservative enough went 39% for Romney.”

    Even The Weathervane’s supporters blow with the predominant breeze.

  • It’s a shame R.Paul is not more eloquent in speech and better looking. He is the better candidate because he is better for America overall than anyone else running on either side. When we focus on “wedge” issues, we lose sight of the bigger picture. He fully supports the constitution, wants to get rid of the FED and his ideas of foriegn policy make much more sense than what we’ve been doing for many decades. I would rather lose a fight that is important to me now (say abortion), but to continue to focus and educate on it locally and get someone in the white house (or senate/congress) that is a true statemen and patriot. Everyone else are simply politicians…

  • Excellent article, David, which I hope the Democratic strategists never read.
    At a pro-life pancake breakfast on Long Island, former friend of Rev Jackson and frequent guest on EWTN, Delores Bernadette Grier, told how Jesse who was himself nearly aborted as a baby, was a pro-life activist with the Archdiocese of New York,and convinced her to become active in the pro-life movement. She said he was told he had to be pro-abortion in order to run for the presidency and gave in.
    So many Catholics followed suit, in order to be accepted by the wider culture, and have the luxuries they craved, they used birth control and voted pro-abortion. They are the Cathoiics who voted for Obama and like, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, are cultural Catholics from the Coast.
    They have no clue that there is a large, vibrant John Paul II generation just now coming of age to vote. Its been said that home-schoolers are Rick’s secret army, and even here in Eastern CT we are organizing for him, and praying for him. Rick knows, I think he intentionally chose Steubenville, OH for his speech on Super Tuesday, since it is the home of JPII Catholic bastion, Franciscan University. I bet he has a lot of support there.

    John Kerry, another cultural Catholic found this out the hard way in 2004 during a campaign rally there. Catholic Evangelist Scott Hahn’s son led half of t he student body to the rally carrying signs reading, “You can’t be Catholic and Pro-abortion!”.
    I pray that such a surprise awaits our president on a November evening when the new wave of Catholics deliver a Santorum victory.

  • Very interesting analysis. Dave Hartline and many other “socially conservative” Catholics were Democrats back in the day. Same could be said for countless others–Abp Chaput, for instance, wrote about working on the Carter campaign. Obviously back in the day the parties were not clearly defined on abortion and, in fact, the Democratic party was actually more socially conservative than the “country club / wasp” dominated GOP prior to Reagan. GW Bush’s whole “compassionate conservative” campaign was specifically designed to win these largely Catholic socially-conservative, economically moderate voters.
    Which brings me to Santorum, whom I find interesting b/c on the one hand he appeals to the same folks as the compassionate conservatives (think Huckabee in ’08, Chris Smith, Norm Coleman in MN, et al). Yet on the other hand he has won the support of many “tea party conservatives” whose anti-government liberterian-laced rhetoric does not jive very well with the Catholic communal ethos. In this light, it makes sense that Romney wins with Catholics b/c he is perceived as more “moderate” and less draconian. Note I am not talking about actual policy differences so much as perceptions, taste and culture.
    Santorum has more appeal with these voters, but as Thomas Sowell pointed out, it is not clear that he is the best candidate to take on Obama. Running for President is ultimately an audition for a job, and the successful business doesn’t hire someone b/c they like them best or b/c they have the same sympathies, but b/c they have the best skills and will do the best job. On the other hand Romney has failed to convince many that he is the one best qualified to knock off Obama and address the nation’s pressing economic and social issues.
    I will continue to follow the votes of Catholics in this election with interest.

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  • “Younger Catholics who attend Mass regularly are more pro-life and adhere to the Church’s teachings more than their baby boomer parents.”

    This may be true. However what percent of the population are these younger Catholics?

  • First of all, I’ve never liked the “compassionate conservative” schtick of GW Bush. It unwittingly implied that conservatism, in and of itself, was lacking in compassion. Likewise, I find Santorum’s “supply side economics for the working man” suffers from the same type of false dichotomy, albeit unwittingly. I think what made Reagan’s approach so effective is that he saw the natural win-win in his conservatism.

    I also think Santorum being an orthodox Catholic and assuming he is knowledgable enough about the faith, I think he needs to start presenting his economic policy in the context of the principle of subsidiarity, which is in line with mainstream conservatism, especially when he speaks to Catholic audiences. He would also do well to show its consistency with mainline conservatism to non-Catholic audiences, particularly in light of the HHS Mandate viz. Obamacare.

    To my knowledge, Santorum has yet to do so.

    Believe it or not, that would be well received by most of the Tea Party. Given their cohesiveness (which smacks of a “communial ethos) and political effectiveness, they are not like Libertarians in that sense who are, to quote Michael Medved, “Losertarians”.