The tricky thing about making arguments based on polls versus principle, as liberals have been doing here and elsewhere over the past week, is that polls can change as people become more informed. That may be happening now regarding America’s 70 million Catholics, a majority of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008:
Catholics strongly disapprove of the job President Obama is doing as the debate continues over his administration’s new policy forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception they morally oppose. While the president’s overall job approval ratings have improved over the past couple of months, they have remained steady among Catholics.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of likely Catholic voters nationwide at least somewhat disapprove of the president’s job performance, while 40% at least somewhat approve. But the passion’s on the side of those who don’t like the job he’s doing: 44% Strongly Disapprove versus 19% who Strongly Approve.
The margin of error is +/- 2. The president’s attack on the first amendment in the service of forcing people to pay for the lifestyle choices of others seems to be backfiring.
This president has sent two very clear messages in recent weeks, with his contraceptive mandate and scuttling the XL: That he places the politics of his fringe base above our bedrock freedoms, and that he is out of touch with the economic realities the American people face around the dinner table every night. His liberal base is with him, but his liberal base only makes up about 20% of the country and they are the rabid yellow dog category of Democrats. They unthinkingly support Obama at every turn. No Republican will win enough of them over to matter and shouldn’t bother trying. The president has to build out from that base but his policies are doing the opposite: He’s losing Catholics, and may lose others as they become more informed about what he is doing, to whom (meaning, pretty much everyone not in his base), and why.