May 27, 2004 - Church Leaders Shalt Not Pressure Politicians, American Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Most Abortions Should Be Legal, Most Voters Say
It is wrong for Catholic Church leaders to try to pressure Catholic politicians on issues such as abortion, American voters say 71 - 22 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Catholic voters say 66 - 30 percent that this pressure is wrong.

Looking at the abortion question, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds:
  • 20 percent of all voters, including 16 percent of Catholics, say it should be legal in all cases:
  • 35 percent of all voters, with 30 percent of Catholics, say it should be legal in most cases:
  • 26 percent of all voters, with 31 percent of Catholics, say it should be illegal in most cases:
  • 14 percent of all voters, with 17 percent of Catholics, say it should be illegal in all cases.
"'Thou shalt not pressure the politicians,' American voters, including Catholic voters, are telling the bishops," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Americans remain divided on the issue of abortion, but most favor abortion in all or most cases. Catholics are only slightly more anti-abortion than the full sample. Like most major issues in our history, the answer to abortion seems to be somewhere in the middle."

By a 65 - 21 percent margin, American voters disapprove of statements by some Catholic bishops that they would deny communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry because he supports abortion rights. Catholics disapprove of the bishops' position 65 - 26 percent.

And 85 percent of voters - including 87 percent of Catholics - say the bishops' position will not affect their vote in November.

All voters disapprove 79 -11 percent of Catholic clergy denying communion to citizens who support abortion rights candidates. Catholics disapprove 80 - 12 percent.

A public official's religious beliefs should be a private matter, not subject to public discussion, 68 percent of voters, including 68 percent of Catholics, say.

"The vast majority of voters, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, say the dispute over abortion and the Church won't affect whether or not they would vote for Sen. Kerry," Carroll said.

"They don't approve of the pronouncements by some bishops concerning politics and abortion and they think religion is nobody's business."

Catholic voters favor President George W. Bush over Sen. Kerry 48 - 41 percent with 3 percent for independent candidate Ralph Nader. Among all voters, Bush gets 43 percent to Kerry's 42 percent, with 6 percent for Nader.

Catholics give President Bush a 50 - 44 percent overall approval, while all voters disapprove 50 - 45 percent of the job Bush is doing.

From May 18 - 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,160 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent. The survey includes 307 Catholic voters with a margin of error of +/-5.6 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and nationwide as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

29. How much have you heard or read about the announcement by some Catholic church leaders to deny communion to John Kerry because he supports abortion rights? A lot, some, only a little, or nothing at all?



                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


A lot 19% 22% 19% 18% 22% 17% 17% 26% Some 20 21 17 20 19 21 22 21 Only a little 21 22 21 21 21 20 22 20 Nothing at all 39 33 43 38 37 40 38 33 DK/NA 2 1 - 3 1 2 1 -



30. Do you approve or disapprove of the announcement by some Catholic church leaders that they would deny communion to John Kerry because he supports abortion rights?

                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


Approve 21% 40% 10% 17% 23% 20% 24% 26% Disapprove 65 45 81 70 62 67 60 65 DK/NA 14 16 9 13 15 13 16 9



31. Does this announcement by some Catholic church leaders make you more likely to vote for John Kerry, less likely to vote for John Kerry, or doesn't it affect your vote?

                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


More likely 6% 2% 12% 6% 5% 7% 6% 4% Less likely 5 10 1 4 4 6 4 7 Doesn't affect vote 85 86 84 88 87 83 87 87 DK/NA 4 1 3 3 3 4 4 2



32. Would you approve or disapprove of Catholic church leaders denying communion to private citizens because they vote for candidates who support abortion rights?

                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


Approve 11% 21% 3% 9% 12% 9% 13% 12% Disapprove 79 67 91 80 77 79 75 80 DK/NA 11 12 6 11 10 11 12 8



33. Do you think it is right or wrong for Catholic church leaders to attempt to publicly pressure Catholic politicians on issues such as abortion?

                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


Right 22% 36% 10% 21% 23% 20% 22% 30% Wrong 71 54 86 74 70 72 70 66 DK/NA 7 9 4 5 6 8 8 5



34. Do you believe a public official's religious beliefs should be a matter of public discussion or should they be a private matter?

                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


Public discussion 29% 44% 18% 24% 32% 27% 33% 30% Private matter 68 53 80 72 66 69 65 68 DK/NA 3 3 2 4 2 4 2 2



35. Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?

                         Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Prot   Cath


Legal all cases 20% 9% 30% 20% 18% 22% 17% 16% Legal most cases 35 27 39 42 36 34 33 30 Illegal most cases 26 38 17 23 27 24 29 31 Illegal all cases 14 23 8 11 13 15 16 17 DK/NA 6 3 7 4 6 5 5 7