Catholic voters helped elect Democratic candidate Joe Biden as the next U.S. president, as more denominations fended off an often hostile clergy and key issues like the right to abortion, according to a recent poll.
While President Donald Trump received the support of eight out of ten white evangelical Christian voters, Catholics were almost split between him and Biden, according to AP VoteCast data. Fifty percent of Catholics supported Trump, while 49 percent supported Biden.
In the 2020 election, Catholic voters made up a significant 22 percent of the electorate-a critical demographic variable that is critical to both candidates. But Biden, whom the Associated Press and other media declared the winner on Saturday, clearly benefited from the group.
Among white Catholics, 57 percent supported Trump and 42 percent Biden, VoteCast found. This is a decline compared to Trump’s 2016 numbers, when he won 64 percent of their votes, compared to the 31 percent of votes for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
Biden scored even better among Hispanic Catholics, with VoteCast finding that 67 percent supported the Democrats while 32 percent supported Trump.
Biden’s own faith probably helped to boost his standing with some voters. After his inauguration in January 2021, Biden will be only the second practicing Catholic to be a U.S. president, the first being John F. Kennedy in 1960.
The Associated Press conducted the nationwide survey of more than 110,000 voters in conjunction with NORC at the University of Chicago. While some other polls of the American electorate yielded different numbers in connection with this demographic development, a constant theme shows that Biden has an increasing percentage of Catholic votes.
Biden scored well on Catholic demographics, although he supported key issues such as abortion law, which contradict Vatican doctrine. Cardinal Raymond Burke even went so far as to propose that Biden be banned from receiving Holy Communion during Sunday Mass, citing the former vice president’s long history of defending abortion rights positions.
“Certainly he is not a Catholic in good standing, and he should not approach to receive Holy Communion,” Burke said about Biden during an August 31 interview received exclusively from Zenger News.
Bishop James Altman of St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, claimed in a video message in September that those who vote for the Democrat will go to hell.
“You can’t be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period. Your party program is absolutely against everything the Catholic Church teaches,” Altman said.
The backlash against Biden became so fierce that in early September an American Jesuit priest and advisor to the Vatican issued a statement calling on his Catholic brethren in faith against the claim that it was a sin to vote for the Democrat.
“Dear friends: I see more priests who say it is a mortal sin to vote for Joe Biden. It is not. It is not a sin to vote for either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump. Nor is it a sin to be a Democrat or Republican,” said Fr. James J. Martin.
Martin previously told Washington Newsday that no candidate “could ever fully express all Catholic teachings.
“Bishops, priests and members of religious orders may not support any candidates. And the Church itself never approves a candidate because no candidate can ever fully express all Catholic doctrine,” Martin said. “For example, Democrats generally support abortion, but Republicans support the death penalty. Both are against church doctrine.”
Given the strong numbers Biden received, it seems that many Catholic voters were able to block out hostile voices within the clergy and separate their personal views on issues such as abortion rights from politics and ultimately vote for the Democrat.