By Frank Newport, Gallup
The following is an excerpt from Frank Newport’s article, “Religious Identity and the 2020 Presidential Election”:
The second-largest religious group in the U.S. are Catholics, at about 22% of the overall U.S. adult population and about 23% of the vote in the 2016 presidential election…. This group is particularly relevant this year because of Biden’s Catholic faith. (The only other Catholic major-party presidential nominees in U.S. history have been Al Smith in 1928, John F. Kennedy in 1960 and John Kerry in 2004.)
Catholics are too large to consider as a monolithic group, and I think it makes sense to divide them into three major segments––Active White Catholics, about 5% of the population; Lapsed White Catholics (those who still identify with the faith but do not attend services regularly), 8% of the population; and Hispanic Catholics, about 7%.
- Active White Catholics are disproportionately pro-Trump, with Gallup data showing about 62% Trump job approval. This pro-Trump skew most likely reflects the general tendency for highly religious Americans to identify as Republicans, and also may reflect active Catholics’ more anti-abortion attitudes, in line with Trump’s abortion positioning. Biden’s own pro-abortion position may hurt him among this segment.
- Lapsed White Catholics––those who identify as Catholics but who are not active––give Trump job approval ratings slightly above the 50% level, higher than the national average but below Trump ratings among Active White Catholics. This suggests that Biden may have more opportunity to reach out to less active Catholics, particularly because they tend to be less likely to oppose abortion and less likely to say abortion is going to be important in their vote.
- Hispanic Catholics‘ position on Trump is more negative than positive; they give Trump a 61% disapproval rating so far this year, suggesting they could be a key target for Biden, particularly in specific swing states.
See full article on Gallup website here.