A new effort to attract Catholic voters to Barack Obama’s campaign is starting today. It’s called, “10,000 Catholics for Obama”. You can see their logo on the left and their site is here. They have a video up explaining why some Catholics are supporting Obama. This site is independent of the Obama campaign but they were consulted about it.
Why 10,000? I mean after all there are tens of millions of Catholics in America! Well that number is just a beginning goal of getting actual volunteers pounding the pavement across the country for Obama. The organizers expect that number to keep increasing. As a matter of fact, this group started as a Facebook group called “Catholics for Obama United” but after a couple weeks they signed up more members than McCain’s similar Catholic Facebook group so now they are organizing into “action oriented” mode. The group is in the process of setting up “team leaders” to do grassroots Catholic organizing, especially in battleground states. Basically, this is a national coordinated effort.
Peter James Kralovec is one of the site’s co-creator. He and a bunch of Notre Dame graduates are behind the site. He told me that because Obama does get resistance on the abortion issue from some Catholics there is a separate part of the site that addresses those concerns. He tells me the following:
“We take the abortion issue very seriously but at the same time abortion has been used as a wedge issue to divide voters. We have seen some resistance in some circles but we want to express some facts about the senator ‘s record on abortion and change the dialogue on this issue.”
So can Obama make inroads with Catholics? Read some statistics below from The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:
The ideological portrait of Catholics is similar to that of the population as a whole. More than four-in-ten Catholics (44%) describe themselves as politically moderate, about a third (34%) say they are politically conservative and less than one-in-five (18%) describe themselves as politically liberal. Among the population as a whole, 39% say they are moderates, 36% say they are conservatives and 19% say they are liberals.
In recent presidential elections Catholics have tended to split their vote roughly evenly between Republican and Democratic candidates. In 2000, Al Gore and George Bush nearly split the Catholic vote (50% to 47%, respectively). In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry among Catholics, but by a relatively narrow margin (52% to 47%).
You can read more on Catholics and how they see social issues here.
It should be noted that not only does John McCain have a Catholics Facebook site, they also put together a National Catholics for McCain Committee. More on that here.
C’mon Catholics speak up. Who is a better fir in your value system?