The Catholic Vote

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Out of yesterday’s Democratic primaries, the religion question that has struck–perhaps confounded–me is: Does Obama actually have a Catholic problem? If you simply take Catholics and Protestants, state by state, it would seem that he does. But that’s largely because the African-Americans are counted among the Protestants. Take them away, and what we’re mostly left with are other things. For example, white Catholics and Protestants in Texas voted for Clilnton at almost the same rate. Where Clinton did particularly well was with Hispanic Catholics. In Ohio, white Catholics were actually slightly more likely to vote for Obama than white Protestants. True, in Vermont, Catholics gave a smaller majority to Obama than Protestants–and there are no African Americans to speak of there. And in Rhode Island, the case was similar, but only to the tune that white Catholics preferred Clinton to Obama by only a few percentage points.
My sense is that what’s required is a more complex analysis–one that takes into account the particular culture and ethnicity and socio-economic circumstances of the various non-African American subgroups. Thus:
1. In Ohio, a lot of German Catholics and Appalachian evangelicals
2. In Texas, over three quarters of Catholics are Hispanic
3. In Vermont, French Canadian Catholics
4. In Rhode Island, a dominant, multi-ethnic Catholic and Democratic white working class
Such considerations can be multiplied from state to state, of course. The question is: What part if any does Catholicism, per se, play in any of this?