Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted in January to a packed ballroom in Ottawa that his Conservative party had become the “first choice” of Roman Catholic voters.

And a new Angus Reid election campaign poll suggests Harper, while guilty of some exaggeration, was accurately spotlighting his party’s rising appeal to Catholics.

But how significant is the Conservative party’s attractiveness to Canadian Catholics, and its continued strength among Protestants?

Just as importantly, could the Conservatives’ gains among these conservative Christian voters hurt the party’s chances among the country’s growing cohort of atheists and nonreligious?

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