Catholic Voters Overwhelmingly Prefer GOP Candidates Except Doug Mastriano

New polls show Catholic voters in major battlefield states overwhelmingly favor Republican candidates, who are significantly ahead of their Democratic opponents, except in the case of the Pennsylvania governor’s race.

A poll released Wednesday by RealClearPolitics (RCP) and the Catholic television network EWTN showed Republican candidate Doug Mastriano trailing Democrat Josh Shapiro by 6.3 percentage points by less than two weeks until Election Day — a rare finding that showed that Catholic voters were willing to split the ticket.

Shapiro has an even greater advantage when analyzing general opinion polls. RCP’s poll average has the Democrat with a 6.4-point lead, while FiveThirtyEight shows Shapiro with a 8.3-point lead. While the election forecaster predicts Shapiro has a 94 in 100 chance of winning the governorship, Mastriano has narrowed the gap between himself and the attorney general, who led double digits for much of September and October.

Mastriano, who was backed by former President Donald Trump, is one of the most prominent 2020 election deniers to run for office, and studies suggest those “extreme” views have pushed voters toward Shapiro, who they say is more “mainstream.” according to a poll on Wednesday by CBS News/YouGov.

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks with supporters during the Unite and Win Rally at the Wyndham Hotel on August 19, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mastriano is lagging behind Democrat Josh Shapiro, even among Catholic voters, who typically favor GOP candidates.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Pennsylvania took center stage in the recent election. Trump narrowly won the state in 2016 before Joe Biden did the same four years later. Both the Pennsylvania governor’s race and the United States Senate race were among the most watched games in this year’s midterm elections.

Wednesday’s poll showed that the majority of Catholic voters still support the GOP candidate when it comes to the Pennsylvania Senate race, where Republican Mehmet Oz is 5.5 points ahead of Democrat John Fetterman. The Oz advantage is part of a national trend of Catholic voters favoring Republicans for the Senate in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Ohio.

Of those battlefield states, Georgian Republican Herschel Walker has the largest lead with 64.7 percent support from Catholic voters, over 32.7 percent from incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock. The Pennsylvania Senate race is the closest.

On Tuesday night, Oz and Fetterman took to the debate stage as part of what was largely seen as a painful performance by the Democratic lieutenant governor, who struggled with the lingering effects of his recent stroke.

The RCP poll found that the economy remains the top problem for Catholic voters in Pennsylvania, although abortion remains important.

While abortion is only the number one issue for about 10 percent of those voters, more than 55 percent of Catholics say they want abortion to be handled by Pennsylvania’s elected representatives and the state’s voting institutions, rather than the courts.

According to Shapiro’s campaign website, the attorney general pledges to “continue to defend a woman’s right to choose in Pennsylvania” should he win the election. On the other hand, Mastriano has without exception called abortion his “number 1 problem.”

The CBS survey found that 62 percent of registered voters view Mastriano’s views as “extreme” and 68 percent say Shapiro’s are more “mainstream.”

News week contacted Mastriano’s campaign for comment.

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