Pew: Catholics leaning Republican in U.S. House

by Will Hall |

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – The Pew Research Center released information January 22 showing more Catholics identify with Republicans than Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The margin is only one, 69 to 68, but the trend is noteworthy.

As late as 2010 (111th Congress), there were 2.5 times as many Catholic Democrats (98) than Catholic Republicans (37) among congressmen.

(Pew Research Center)

In the intervening three elections, Republicans have won an increasingly larger share of House seats.

Also in that timeframe, White Catholic voters have trended Republican.

In 2008 Democrats garnered 50 percent of White Catholic votes, compared to 40 percent for Republicans. But in 2014 Republicans received 53 percent of this group's support, with only 39 percent voting for Democrats.

The result is more Catholic Republicans getting elected, with the share of Republicans identifying as Catholics increasing from 21 percent to 28 percent. Meanwhile the portion of House Democrats who are Catholic has slipped from 38 percent to 36 percent, according to Pew's analysis.

(Pew Research Center)

While there has been a shift of party affiliation among Catholics in this chamber, the portion of the House overall remains about 32 percent Catholic, Pew reports. This share "has remained fairly steady over the last four Congresses" and keeps this religious group the second largest in the House, after Protestants, who make up 58 percent of this legislative body.

In the U.S. Senate there has been "little change in the total number or the party affiliation of Catholics in recent Congresses. About a fifth of Senate Republicans were Catholic in 2009" and there is a similar share today, Pew found.