White evangelical voters strongly support Romney over Obama (68% vs. 19%).
Catholic voters overall say that they would be more likely to vote for Obama than Romney (46% to 39%), although white Catholic voters favor Romney over Obama by a significant margin (48% to 37%).
Obama has an advantage over Romney among white mainline Protestant voters (50% vs. 37%) and religiously unaffiliated voters (57% vs. 22%).
Overall, PRRI puts the race at 47-38 in Obama, which is in line with other recent results,* and not a bad place for Obama to be.
As for the bullet points excerpted above, I have a few of my own:
- A friend quips, "I thought the Religion-Industrial Complex was supposed to take care of the Evangelicals!" Well, they were. Evangelical voters appear to be rallying around the GOP nominee, perhaps a little better than expected but still less enthusiastically than for John McCain (73%) or George W. Bush (79%). Romney might hit McCain's numbers, particularly if he nominates an Evangelical for VP, but I sincerely doubt he'll make Bush's. Many of them will stay at home rather than vote for a Mormon with dubious social-con creds.
- I feel like many analyses of the religious vote should begin with the disclaimer THERE IS A BLACK MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE. How else do you explain the difference between white and (basically) Hispanic Catholics? It's actually a weird three-legged stool: white Catholics tend to be older than the average voter, and the older the voter, the less likely they are to support Obama. In any case, the overall Catholic vote has tracked very closely to the overall vote of the nation in the past few presidential cycles. I can believe Obama beats Romney 46-39, maybe more like 48-39. We'll see.
- Not to make things too complicated, mainline Protestants have been slowing walking toward the Democrats since the early 70's. That trend slowed (perhaps even reversed, I'm too lazy to track the data down at the moment) in the Bush era, but now it seems to have resumed. Obama's recent embrace of same-sex marriage probably won't hurt him significantly with mainliners, and it certainly won't hurt him with the unaffiliated demographic. You won't hear this from any of your standard pundits, who'll be mostly obsessed with the Evangelical vote, but those unaffiliateds are probably the single most important slice of the religious vote in 2012: they're young, they're growing, and they definitely lean in one direction. The president would be a fool to alienate them.
More to come.