The US Exit Polls, the "Catholic Vote", and parallel universes…

Exit polls, schmexit polls, I say.

But in any case, some people are fascinated by what the “exit polls” (based on answers asked by pollsters as the voters leave the voting booths) have to say about the “Catholic Vote” in the US.

The question is, when these polls show that (self-identifying not necessarily practicing)Catholics voted pretty well the same way as the rest of the US population (ie. pro Obama by about 4-6%), what should one make of the very vocal stand some Catholic bishops took against the pro-abortion policies of the Democrats?

The Tablet, for instance, carries a story by Michael Sean Winters: “Why they didn’t listen”, in which he declares that “the greatest problem is that these “abortion-only” bishops are living in a parallel universe.”

But at the same time, Catholic News Service is carrying a story which indicates that some Catholics well might have been listening to their bishops:

Mark Gray, a research associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, pointed to several states as examples of where a higher percentage of Catholics supported McCain compared to the rest of the state’s voters.

In Missouri, McCain and Obama each got about 50 percent of the vote. Catholics in Missouri voted for McCain by a difference of 55 percent to 45 percent.

In Pennsylvania, Obama won 55 percent of the vote and McCain 44 percent, but Catholics favored McCain by 52 percent to 48 percent.

What distinguishes those states, Gray noted, is that in each at least one bishop issued statements that leaned strongly toward telling voters they should vote only for candidates of the party that supports overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand.

Now admittedly, that’s not a big difference (that’s still 45-48 percent of “Catholics” in favour of the pro-abortion party) but hey, it indicates that about 10 percent of Catholics (God knows, but that might represent all of the usual Democrat voters among the active Catholics in the Dioceses) WERE listening to their bishop.

In any case, we ought not to be fazed by the “parallel universe” accusation. Didn’t Jesus say as much in the “in the world, but not of the world” line?

We are citizens of heaven, guys…

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