Thursday's VP debate will be the first with two Catholic candidates from opposing parties meeting in a televised national election forum. As they meet, the "Catholic vote" is back to "too close to call" with President Obama leading among all Catholic registered voters (49% Obama to 45% Romney) and Gov. Romney leading among all likely Catholic voters (50% Romney to 44% Obama). This week's new data are from two sources; Gallup and Pew (their estimates are averaged in the figure below). Likely voter estimates are now revealing the importance of enthusiasm and turnout for the eventual outcome. Currently, 84 percent of Catholic registered voters say they will definitely vote in November.
It's unprecedented for two Catholic candidates to face off in a national forum that is likely to be so heavily watched. It will be interesting to see if faith becomes part of the discussion and if the debate moves the Catholic vote one way or the other.
Note: A more current update on the Catholic vote has been posted here.
Nineteen Sixty-four is a research blog for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University edited by Mark M. Gray. CARA is a non-profit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Catholic Church's self understanding; to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. Follow CARA on Twitter at: caracatholic.
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