Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Catholic Vote

A lot has been made about how Catholic voters broke in large numbers (52%) from the Democratic Party to vote for George Bush over the "Catholic" Senator from Massachuesetts, John Kerry. Kerry, of course, had non-traditional views on abortion (one of the Senate's staunchest supporters of abortion rights) and gay marriage (was for it, but against it), which should account for much of the discomfort Democratic Catholics had with voting for him.

Here's what I found interesting. If you look at the county-by-county election results, here's what you get. Now contrast that with this map showing counties nationwide where the largest denomination is Catholic. Notice how most of the Kerry counties nationwide are also Catholic counties. Apparently, the break for Bush was strong overall, but not in traditional Democratic strongholds (such as the east and west coasts and the large cities). Bush won some rural states with large swaths of Catholic counties, but he still lost the major cities of NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, DC, and Philly...each of which is largely Catholic according to the religion map.

What is misleading about these maps is that they don't tell the story of where the concentrations of voters are. Bush could win dozens of counties in Kansas and Nebraska and still come nowhere near the same number of voters as you would have in Cook County, IL (where Chicago lies). When looking at the religion map, my first thought was, Catholics are the largest denomination in each of the big cities, and they still went for Kerry. With the exception of the lesser populated mountain states, the bluest (most Catholic) areas of the map still went to Kerry. The break for Bush, therefore, was insignificant to the electoral outcome in most states with large cities (and, therefore, high electoral vote totals). Bush's overall vote totals may have been padded, but the outcome on the election from the Catholic vote looks slight.


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