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Thursday, March 6, 2008

divine mystery

Here's something I have noticed that I have not heard anyone talk about: eight of the ten most Catholic states by percentage have chosen Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. The following list shows each state's Catholic percentage of state population, followed by the primary winner and outcome.

1. Rhode Island, 63%, Clinton by 58 to 40.
2. Massachusetts, 47%, Clinton by 56 to 41.
3. New Mexico, 41%, Clinton 51 by to 49.
4. New Jersey, 39%, Clinton by 54 to 44.
4. Vermont, 39%, Obama by 60 to 38.
6. New York, 38%, Clinton by 57 to 40.
7. New Hampshire, 35%, Clinton by 39 to 36 (to 17 for Edwards).
8. California, 34%, Clinton by 52 to 42.
8. Connecticut, 34%, Obama by 51 to 47.
10. Arizona, 31%, Clinton by 51 to 42.

So far, I have seen only one other blogger notice Catholic trending against Obama, and yesterday The Votemaster at electoral-vote.com noticed the disparity in Texas.

Clinton has only won four other states delegate-wise (plus Nevada and Texas where she 'won' but lost in delegates). Two questions then for readers:
-Why are states with large Catholic populations not voting for Obama? and
-Why hasn't anyone noticed this yet?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Mathews and Pat Buchanan have noted this trend, actually.

9:41 AM, March 06, 2008

Anonymous 42 said...

It really isn't a mystery.
I was raised Catholic & I support Clinton. My sons, who were baptised but not raised as Catholics, support Obama.They don't consider themselves Catholic.
I think you will find that Caucasians who call themselves "Catholic" tend to be older, which is one of Clinton's strong demographic groups.
Hispanics, another one of Clinton's area of strength, are very Catholic.

10:30 AM, March 06, 2008

Blogger Jeff Hussein Strabone said...

I was not aware that Mathews and Buchanan had noted it although I have heard both of them make frequent mention of their Catholic upbringing, which makes their observation all the more interesting on this point. I wonder whether they have offered any insight into this curious phenomenon.

I hope no one misunderstands what I have said. I have not suggested any interpretation or motive. I am simply noticing a voting trend and inviting the interpretations of others. In a climate where polling data are being over-scrutinized, often unhelpfully, the inattention to a large-scale trend such as this is strange.

I don't know that 42 has dispelled any of the mystery. If, as he argues, Clinton's bases of support just happen to be groups that happen to be very Catholic, he has merely restated the question.

Perhaps it is a coincidence. Perhaps there are considerations of economic class or education that coincide with Catholic identification in the States. These would be simple explanations if true, but I don't have such data.

12:49 PM, March 06, 2008

Blogger Jeff Hussein Strabone said...

Here is something from Politico on the subject of Catholic voters and Obama.

According to the article, Obama has lost the Catholic vote in several states that he has won. In Illinois, his home state, the vote was 50-50.

Ah, this is interesting and the first attempt that I have seen at an interpretation:
'John Green, a political science professor at the University of Akron and a senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, said [...] "I think she talks in ways that Catholics can understand. He speaks in the cadences of the black church, with a real Protestant approach."'

I can't say that I'm prepared to agree with that, but it may be worth thinking about.

1:22 PM, March 06, 2008

Anonymous sw said...

I have a hard time disagreeing with the demographic option offered by 42. But while American Catholicism has become, overall, more Republican and more conservative, I fail to see how those categories map onto an Obama/Clinton divide. Indeed, she is probably the more secular of the two, at least in popular imagination. It is even possible that liberal Catholicism, as represented within the Democratic party, is more inclined to the harder-core liberal potential of Clinton than Obama (a statement I am willing to make - but, judging Clinton by her own past, one that comes with the caveat that her professed liberalism might get triangulated out of existence . . . still, there's this small part of me that believes her flinty liberalism might create more sparks than all the hope and bridge-building inspired by Obama. And perhaps there's the rub; perhaps it is this hard moralism underneath her skin, unlike Obama's warm, oozing caramel centre, that attracts a Catholic political aesthetic).

You know, I really hate this fucking election cycle. What "Catholic political aesthetic"? Even though I firmly believe that demographic data are simply confused and foggy and at this point irrelevant, I can't help but get drawn into these awful demographic debates. But just watch as McCain picks Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Colin Powell as a running mate, depending on whether Clinton or Obama wins. Mother-uckas!

3:02 PM, March 06, 2008

Blogger steven said...

Jeff, must we wait any longer for your theory of No Country for Old Men? I am sure you have one.

6:21 PM, March 06, 2008

Blogger Jeff Hussein Strabone said...

I agree. This election cycle has taken a turn to the internecine. McCain's autumn ads against Obama will play loops of Hillary Clinton praising McCain and calling Obama unfit for command.

Steve is right: I need to get back to cultural blogging. I have seen both No Country for Blood and There Will Be Old Men, but I would like to see both a second time before commenting.

Regrettably, I won't have much time for blogging or culture for the next six weeks. I will post what I can. In the meanwhile, feel free to devote this thread to preliminary thoughts about the recent cinema.

2:25 AM, March 07, 2008

Anonymous sw said...

Juno was very disappointing, but Jason Bateman turned in an immensely rich and strikingly overlooked performance; fans of Arrested Development will be delighted to know that there is a lovely Arrested Development reference, not uttered by either Bateman or Michael Cera (who play George Bluth and his son, George Michael Bluth, respectively). And as I have come to love Arrested Development even more than I thought possible, I think the whole film was worthwhile for that reference.

But really, surely we ought to be talking about No Country for Old Men (insert McCain joke here) or There Will Be Blood! (insert Democratic run-off joke here).

Steve, what did you think of those films? Load of dessicated old wank or the best eyefuck since the 1980s?

10:00 AM, March 07, 2008

Blogger steven said...

Motherfucking blogger.com ate my comment.

Anyway, sw, I'm not even sure I understand the question, but I will say three (3) things:

i) I haven't seen There Will Be Blood, but am pleased to report that the French pronounce the title as it is spelled.

ii) No Country for Old Men is at least an ear-fuck, the likes of which have rarely been conceived. At one moment I thought "All films should be like this", but then realised that it drew much of its power from the surrounding context, in which most films are drenched in silly music. (It is instructive, meanwhile, to compare this film's approach to sound design with David Lynch's.) And then finally, in Carter Burwell's end-credits score, an acoustic guitar lands repeatedly, yet somehow hesitantly, on a major third, as though trying to convince itself (and us) that some happiness can still be possible in the world.

iii) The sound of that silenced shotgun terrifies me still, in my mind's ear.

8:01 AM, March 08, 2008

Blogger steven said...

I'll tell you what is an eye-fuck. I just saw John Rambo. (I take the view that its working title is the authentic one.) That film has evidently been too much for the pantywaist critics. To use a word in its archaically correct sense, it is an awful film.

10:12 PM, March 08, 2008


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