Some polling on Notre Dame and Pres. Obama

The left-wing, progressivist Catholics tend to follow polling data more than the Church’s Magisterium when it comes to certain hot button issues.

I wonder what they do with the latest Rasmussen Poll about the reaction of Catholics the the scandalous decision of Notre Dame to honor pro-abortion President Obama.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans nationwide say the University of Notre Dame should have followed guidelines set by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and refrained from awarding an honorary degree to President Obama.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 25% believe the university should issue the degree and 19% are not sure.

In 2004, the bishops issued a statement saying, "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

By a 60% to 25% margin, U.S. Catholics say the university should not award an honorary degree to the president. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Evangelical Christians share that view along with 52% of other Protestants.

However, a plurality (45%) of those who do not have Christian affiliations say the university should give the president the honorary degree.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Catholics say it’s at least somewhat important for graduation speakers to share the university’s views at schools with religious affiliations. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Evangelical Christians hold that view as do 63% of other Protestants. Among non-Christians, 42% agree.

It is interesting to note that the discomfort on the issue is focused on the university decision rather than on the president. Just 30% of voters believe the president should cancel his appearance at Notre Dame. Most (52%) say he should not. Among Catholics, just 34% think Obama should cancel.

It is also worth noting that the response is tied more closely to the violation of the bishops’ guidelines than to the policy issue concerning abortion. [?] Those who describe themselves as pro-choice on abortion are evenly divided as to whether or not the university should award an honorary degree to the president. Pro-life adults strongly believe the university should have followed the bishops’ guidelines.

Regardless of the views, the issue of the president’s commencement address at Notre Dame is not generating a tremendous amount of public interest. Just 15% of American adults say they’ve followed the news story Very Closely while another 23% are following it Somewhat Closely. Among Catholics, 25% are following the story Very Closely, and another 27% are following it Somewhat Closely[52%]

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  1. Francesco B. says:

    I suppose now Thomas Reese and Richard McBrien must support the bishops because the polls are on their side, right? …right?

  2. Sean says:

    More Evangelicals think the bishops should be obeyed that do Catholics. How sad. . .

  3. It’s too bad that only half the people think the school should listen to the Bishops. That percent is probably higher than the percentage of people on campus, however, which is perhaps more sad.

  4. We must always keep the Gospels in mind. Recall the parable of the Wheat and the Chaff and what was the final disposition of each. Only prayer will ever change hearts and minds. As Our Lady said to the three children at Fatima after she showed them the vision of Hell: “You have seen Hell where poor sinners go who have no one to pray for them”.

  5. ND Alumnae certainly have the right to withdraw donations to their alma mater. They probably don’t come back on campus for commencement ceremonies. I know from recent personal conversations that there are graduating students who are very uncomfortable with this situation. And they have parents, relatives, and friends who feel the same. Should they skip the ceremony and just receive their degree in the mail? Should they not applaud? Should the face away from the stage whenever they should stand? After so much money has been spent acquiring their degree, they and their families are being forced to spend thousands of dollars on travel, etc., to attend this once in a lifetime event with their beloved students. And yet their memories of this joyous day will forever be marred by the gravity and inappropriateness of this entire situation.

  6. TNCath says:

    While it is certainly gratifying to see such favorable numbers, as Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” You can bet that the NCR, Fathers Reese and McBrien, and other dissenting Catholics will attempt to spin the numbers differently. Regardless, right and wrong can never be determined by public opinion, especially in matters of faith and morals.

  7. tzard says:

    Think of the emotional response the number 52% is, compared to say, 49%. It’s a world of difference in some minds, even though it’s not really different.

  8. TJM says:

    Francesco, of course. But don’t expect consistency from lefties. Tom

  9. Supertradmom says:

    Numbers are important to Americans. Polls are important. I would like to challenge any artists who read this blog to paint a picture of all the babies killed in America through abortion to date and put these babies on campus, overflowing into South Bend. What people do not see cause them to forget. This poll shows that there are more people sympathetic to the Catholic position and the Bishops’ role in teaching the Faith then one would suppose. In this democracy, numbers mean something; ergo, polls are important to use to an advantage.

  10. Mitchell NY says:

    IF the 2004 Bishop’s conference issued guidelines regarding awarding people who act in definace of fundemental moral principles, who on earth would this apply to if not the situation right now at Notre Dame…???? Isn’t this exactly what it is for? What was the point of issuing this or even the conference? Just a waste of time if it is not applied when needed….The Bishops would have better spent their time helping the sick or poor rather than sitting around and drawing up the fine points of a document they have no intention of applying…Another true waste of time and probably paper….

  11. So odd. Liberals want to change the Church into mob rule under the guise of “democracy.”

  12. ED says:

    I can’t believe the Pope is allowing these Bishops who are trying to stop this to look ineffective in front of the secular world, Father Jenkins should be removed from his position and the award to Obama stopped.

  13. RBrown says:

    Fifty-six percent (56%) of Catholics say it’s at least somewhat important for graduation speakers to share the university’s views at schools with religious affiliations. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Evangelical Christians hold that view as do 63% of other Protestants. Among non-Christians, 42% agree.

    About 25 years ago I saw on TV (C-SPAN, I think) a colloquium with Fr Drinan, Jerry Brown (Catholic . . . sort of), and Jerry Falwell. When the subject of JPII came up, only Falwell defended him, saying that John Paul II was a gift from God.

    O tempora! O mores!

  14. TJM says:

    RBrown, figures. A Catholic priest and former seminarian attacking the pope. Tom

  15. mbd says:

    I suspect that if the Rasmussen survey had separated the Catholic respondents into two groups – those who attend Mass regularly or are otherwise active in the practise their Faith, and those who do not – the responses of the former would be much closer to the responses of the Evangelical Christians. Most of those who are baptised Catholics have no reluctance in identifying themselves as Catholics even if they have essentially abandoned the practise of the Faith. I suspect that former Evangelicals are much less likely to characterize themselves as Evangelicals. While theologically a baptized Catholic remains a Catholic even if he has abandoned the practice of his Faith, sociologically he should not be categorized as such. Pollsters should be more discerning of this fact when they choose and categorize their samples.That said, it is quite interesting that there seems to be a different response when the question is framed so as to include the element that the action of N.D. is in conflict with the dictates of the bishops as opposed to the response given when the qustion – as in the earlier poll – is simply framed as to whether the respondent believes that N.D. should award the honorary degree to B.O. This suggests that the bishops still wield a considerable degree of influence in the minds of Catholics when they act with some degree of unity (and, perhaps, of those of other faiths as well)

  16. Laurinda says:

    Where are these polls? Why do I never get to vote in these polls?

    I have trouble believing in so many polls when I’ve never heard about them before they were done. They aren’t tapping into a large variety of people. None of my local friends have heard of these polls either.

    How many of you have gotten to vote in these polls? I’d be willing to bet few and far in between.

    Thus, I must agree that statistics, aka, lies, are not worth even noting. And, as Father Z has stated several times: polls mean nothing when discussing church teaching. The Church shouldn’t care if people disagree with it, this is not a democracy. Have you ever tried to argue with God? He doesn’t really argue back…

  17. John Polhamus says:

    God will not be mocked. Or, if you are a secularist, what goes around comes around. Both Fr. Jenkins and President Obama, if they’re both truly as religious as they claim, ought to consider that. Not that I wish ill on either of them…I’m just sayin’.

  18. mfg says:

    In the preconciliar church in which I was an adult only Catholics who were practicing Catholics were called “Catholic”. The Church made this very clear. Yes, technically the unobservant ones wee Catholic. 3 of my children are practicing Catholics and are very interested in this matter and are totally opposed to ND’s invitation to Obama. The other 3 are Christmas and Easter Catholics. They have no interest in this matter but when I asked them how they would vote, they said, sure, ND should invite him. He’s the President. There’s your 50/50.

  19. Sandra in Severn says:

    Whoa fathers, and gentle readers…
    First things first,
    1. How closely have you followed news reports about President Obama’s speech next month at the University of Notre Dame?
    15% Very closely
    23% Somewhat closely
    37% Not very closely
    23% Not at all
    2% Not sure

    So already, only 38% could even make an educated judgment (roughly 380 people out of 1000 polled) 25% Don’t care, and 37% have an idea that this might be news. So everything is based on the 620 people that have no clue about what the issues are or what the Catholic Church teaches. It doesn’t impact their daily life (as they see it).

    And the critical question, so how many of the 1000, are actual “Catholics” as mfg brought up?

    Rasmussen is much better than Gallop in doing their homework before asking people to be a sample. But it really is hard to infer upon an entire population, something from a sample set so small.

    I took back to back courses in statistics during the run up to the elections and just finished the series. One instructor would take apart a “news” poll and show us all the holes and the “faulty” logic of the media reporters (that usually reported something different than the actual poll results).

    There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. I’m just finally understanding them as I learn how to teach this difficult subject to others.

  20. RuariJM says:

    Just like to say – I’m a ‘left-winger’ and also a ‘liberal’ and I do not think Pres Obama should be ‘honoured’ by a degree from UND. In fact, I wonder what on earth they are thinking of. I am also deeply confused as to why prominent ‘pro-choice’ politicians are described as Catholic: I would ahve thought supporting abortion would have meant autmatic excommunication.
    Do not confuse ‘left-wing’ or ‘liberal’ with ‘apostasy’ or heresy. The Left traditionally stood for emancipation, for defending the defenceless, standing with the alienated and oppressed. The people who advocate abortion are no more left-wing than was Adolf Hitler, another enthusiast for premature death. Hitler called himelf a ‘socialist’, too – he wasn’t. Call a spade a bl**dy shovel: these people are merchants of death, oppression and enslavement, not life, liberation and emancipation.

    Calling people ‘liberal’ who are clearly not is lazy, a phrase picked up from the Reilly Factor on Fox. It’s closet-speak for ‘communist’ (in the McCarthyite sense of the word) really, isn’t it? There are plenty of accurate words to describe those people: please try and use them.

  21. michigancatholic says:

    James, that’s reason #23 for Catholics to send their Catholic kids to some other college.

    Notre Dame University is N.O.T.H.I.N.G. without the Catholic Church. The Catholic church is bigger and more authoritative than ND will ever be. And ND needs to get that message loud and clear.

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