November 10, 2004

Episcopal Influence

Bush enlarged his catholic vote from 47% to 52% while Kerry saw Catholic support drop from Al Gore's 50% to 47%. The Catholic vote for Other drops from 3% to 1%. But who were these voters? The exit poll service attendance numbers tell the tale.

Bush rose only marginally (1%) in service attendees who go at least weekly. His great increase in religious voters were in the nominally religious who go monthly or less often (3%-4%). I would guess that in the nominal group, we're disproportionately talking about "christer" Catholics, a priestly term for those who show up CHRISTmas and eastER and are no-shows throughout the rest of the year. This does not jibe very well with the "jesusland" critique launched by many on the left. A crusading army of twice a year Catholics is just not something that most people worry much about and, hopefully when serious election analysts point this out, Democrat partisans will drop the jesusland meme in quiet embarrassment.

But what is it that drove occasional Catholics into Bush's arms? It likely was the hierarchy for many of them. Any voter literature left at church would have been unread, any social group inside a parish would most likely target the guys who showed up on a regular basis. The only factors that a generally non-attending Catholic would pick up would be episcopal announcements and Kerry's heresy trial in Boston and the heresy trial was kept very, very quiet and inside baseball.

That pretty much leaves the bishops in the drivers seat, able to shift significant numbers of nominal Catholics and likely to be gearing up for a continuation of their strategy to improve the Catholic conscience in ways that secular vote counters will ignore at their peril. The Bishops seem to be out to create a true Catholic vote. Both parties need to take notice or become a permanent minority.

Posted by TMLutas at November 10, 2004 09:34 AM