Skip to comments.Catholic support for Obama in polls may not tell full story
Posted on 09/28/2012 1:43:10 PM PDT by NYer
.- A recent poll showing President Barack Obama with a 15-point lead over Republican candidate Mitt Romney among Catholic voters may not represent the actual attitudes of the Catholic electorate, analysts say.
“Keep in mind that a survey is just that – it’s a survey,” said Dr. Matthew Green, a politics professor who deals with the field of U.S. elections at The Catholic University of America. “There’s always some uncertainty.”
A poll released by Pew Research Center on Sept. 16 showed Obama with 54-39 percent lead over Romney among self-identified Catholics.
While the survey, conducted Sept. 12-16, did show Romney with a nine point advantage among those who attend church services regularly, the poll results of the general Catholic population differed significantly from those shown by other surveys.
A Gallup poll released on the same day showed Obama leading by only five points, 49-44. That poll was based on a three-week rolling average from Aug 27 - Sept 16.
Gallup’s later poll from Aug. 20 – Sept. 9 showed Obama leading by just two percentage points among self-identified Catholics, 47-45.
Analysts offered various explanations for the discrepancy with the Pew poll.
Green told CNA that a single poll is “not necessarily the most reliable measure,” and it can be helpful to look at numerous polls.
While he could not comment on which poll was more accurate, he said that he was “a little hesitant to accept the Pew numbers.”
He noted that the Pew survey was just a single poll that seems to be an “outlier,” while Gallup has been doing weekly polls on the election for months, showing “general stability” with only “gradual changes.”
In addition, he observed, Gallup averages its polls over a three-week period in order to average out irregularities that could be misleading.
While its results are not necessarily wrong, Green said that he “wouldn’t put too much weight on the Pew data.”
He explained that Pew surveyed only 540 people who self-identified as Catholic, while Gallup surveyed 2,100 people. Therefore, Pew’s data for Catholics has a “much bigger margin of error,” which indicates less certainty that the poll “reflects the true preferences of the population.”
Geoff Skelley, media relations coordinator for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, noted that “all polls have just slightly different methodology.”
Websites that average numerous different polls can sometimes help in trying “to find a balance” and smooth out any irregularities in individual polls, he explained.
Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has aggregated data from polls on Catholics conducted by Pew, Gallup and TIPP. The results indicated a close race over the last several months, in which neither candidate consistently garnered more than 50 percent of Catholic support.
The recent inconsistencies in poll results extended beyond merely the Catholic vote and into the general population as well.
Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle observed that a Sept. 19 Pew Research poll showed Obama leading Romney by eight percentage points, while a Gallup survey taken over the same time period had them tied.
Discrepancies such as these, he said, can be attributed to the different wording of questions, differing methods of attempting to integrate cell phone users into polls and differences between polling “registered voters” and “likely voters.”
In early August, Pew was critiqued for a survey showing Obama with a 10-point lead over Romney in a poll that included nearly twice as many self-identifying Democrats as Republicans.
Pew defended its poll in a statement asserting that standardizing the distribution of Democrats and Republicans “would unquestionably be the wrong thing to do.”
The research center explained that “party identification is one of the aspects of public opinion that our surveys are trying to measure, not something that we know ahead of time like the share of adults who are African American, female, or who live in the South.”
“(S)hifts in party identification are essential to understanding the dynamics of American politics,” it said.
Some critics, however, said that such a significant inequality in party distribution could be making the polls less accurate.
Columnist Jim Geraghty complained in the National Review Online that Pew has made a “habit of including an unrealistic percentage of Democrats in their sample.”
He argued that the organization has been inaccurate in polling before recent elections because its polling samples do not reflect the fact that “the electorate is going to be more than 24 percent Republican, and self-identified Democrats aren’t going to outpace Republicans by 9 percentage points.”
Commentator Dick Morris suggested that the polls being produced by many organizations are flawed because they are using the 2008 election as a model for weighting respondents.
However, it is unlikely that African Americans, Latinos and young adults will have the same unusually high voter turnout in this election that they did in 2008, he said, pointing to surveys indicting a lack of enthusiasm and novelty, as well as a sense of disappointment, among these groups.
As a result, he argued, many polls showing Obama with a drastic lead over Romney are actually “misleading.”
Important to also factor in this ..
Latinos who attend Mass are typically very devout. They were offended by Obama’s attack on the Catholic Church. It was expressed very pointedly by a middle aged Latino man in Mass the last two weeks wearing a shirt that carried a simple message: Anybody but Obama.
The Bishops are really dropping the ball here. An unequivocal statement that it is sinful to vote to re-elect this man is what’s needed. But they fear that confrontation.
You need to read this.
Perhaps you can explain to us why these two polls have such vast differences in results.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the 15% spread for Obama is real, and it may grow.
Romney has given the Catholics very little reason to vote for him. Many Catholics don’t understand how the HHS mandate affects them, don’t believe Romney is truly pro-life and see in his candidacy a purely economic set of goals, not particularly resonant with the prevailing Catholic views at that.
Besides, he is the first presidential candidate who is not Christian, something of importance to self-identified Catholics.
I should probably ping you to this post. This election cycle, I predict, will strongly reinforce your anti-Catholic stereotype. But for that, I blame the GOP and the inept candidacy of Romney.
LOL! Good one!
I have asked you before, don’t stalk me, and don’t post to me on threads that I am not even on.
Do not personalize your posting here at freerepublic.
Behind every double standard lies an unconfessed single standard.
Fabulous! Thanks for that post and ping :-)
Where? I wasn't aware of such request, and pinged you to a thread that confirms your views, out of courtesy.
I’ll choose my own threads and had already read this thread and moved on when you posted to me, whether it was a courtesy or not, just leave each thread to it’s self, you don’t need to post to me on threads that I am not participating in.
I’ll try to remember that, but you realize that I cannot keep a database of how everyone wants to be pinged. As a general rule, I ping those who I think may be interested in the thread or in what I posted, or themselves posted something I want to respond to, or, finally, happen to be on the visible part of a ping list on a post to which I choose to respond.
If you maintain a keen interest in the topic of electoral behavior of Catholics, you are likely at some point to receive a ping from me, perhaps solicited and perhaps not, because that topic also interests me. Trust me, there is nothing personal in any of that.
We had several conversations lately not because I “personalize my posting” (whatever that means) but because they were all on that topic, and you frequently contribute to that topic.
Do not feel obligated to respond to my posts whether I pinged you or not.
Good lord man, do not stalk people, do not harass people, you and I have no relationship, whatever is going on with you do not drag it around FR and to other threads.
I'll try to remember that as well.
This is a political forum I have no relationships with anyone here, I don’t even know who you are or why you are so determined to create something between us.
Do not personalize things here, just deal with the posts that you want to deal with, on the corresponding thread.
Re-read my #16 and calm down.