When Barack Obama won 54 percent of the Catholic vote in the 2008 presidential election, commentators barely noticed that John McCain won a majority of the religiously-active Catholic vote (51 percent to 49 percent). This was a small margin, to be sure, but it doesn’t bode well for the 2012 presidential race, after all the worst predictions of Obama’s support for abortion became reality.

Religiously-active Catholics are those who report attending Mass at least once a week. Weekly attendance at religious services is the accepted definition of a religiously-active voter in any faith tradition. Studies of exit polls going back to the ’60s tell the story of how these Catholic voters lost their loyalty to the Democratic Party, becoming either reliable Republicans or swing voters with a preference for socially conservative candidates, e.g. the “Reagan Democrats.”

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