President Obama could lose the Catholic and Protestant vote in the fall election and still sweep to victory if he dominates among non-religious voters, according to projections released Thursday by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
“President Obama could lose both the Catholic and Protestant vote to the Republican nominee — even lose badly — and still win re-election,” said Mark Gray, associate professor at Georgetown and director of CARA.
The study found that U.S. adults who identify themselves as having “no religious affiliation or other” had risen to 22 percent this year, compared to just 7 percent in 1972. The percent of the electorate not belonging to any faith is equivalent to the U.S. Catholic population percentage, the report said.
In one scenario, if Mr. Obama can win traditional Democratic strongholds and claim just 44 percent of Protestant and Catholic voters in key battleground states, he could still win re-election with a strong win among the religiously unaffiliated.
Even with narrow losses in Ohio and Iowa, the study found, “this would result in 291 Electoral College votes [for Mr. Obama] —a healthy surplus above the 270 needed to win re-election.”
— David Hood