Tracking Where Catholics Stand Ahead of 2020 Election

EWTN News and RealClear Opinion Research have partnered to conduct multiple deep-dive polls on Catholic voters’ attitudes and trends ahead of the 2020 election. This is the second in a series of four opinion research polls being conducted between November 2019 and November 2020 to chart an understanding of where Catholics stand on issues surrounding the Church, politics, and American culture.

Overall, the new poll finds that President Donald Trump is in a stronger position among devout Catholics, especially devout Latino Catholics, than he was at the end of 2019. Though there are some agreements on social issues between “devout” Catholics and the more general Catholic population, stark political differences appear to exist between these two Catholic communities.

Some key highlights from the poll:

54% of Catholic voters said they are open to voting for Pres. Trump in 2020.

     ○   Including 34% indicating that they will definitely vote for Pres. Trump in 2020.

     ○   He is lifted by the 67% of devout Catholics who are sure to or open to voting for him, 3% points from the December 2019 poll.

52% of devout Hispanics said they are sure to vote for Pres. Trump in 2020.

     ○    58% of devout Hispanics think the nation is headed in the right direction.

     ○    58% of devout Hispanics think the country is better off financially than 4 years ago.

     ○   77% of devout Hispanics think they are personally better off financially than 4 years ago.

A majority of all Catholics (55%) believe that the use of bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms should be based on biological sex at birth and not gender identity.

57% of all Catholics believe there should be more faith-friendly programming coming out of the entertainment industry.

By nearly a two-to-one margin (57%-29%), Catholic voters support the death penalty, even while 63% are aware of the Church’s position that it is inadmissible

Pres. Trump’s overall job approval among all Catholics is at 47%, +3% points from the December 2019 poll, and at 63% among devout Catholics, yet he still trails every major Democrat contender in head-to-head matchups less than a year out from the election.

Of the Catholics likely to vote in the Democratic primary, 29% would vote for Joe Biden, 24% for Bernie Sanders, 17% for Michael Bloomberg; all other candidates in single digits.

“Our second poll confirms even more starkly what we learned in the first—that the Catholic vote is certainly not a monolith, and one of the most important predictors of a Catholics’ vote is the degree to which they accept Church teachings,” said John Della Volpe, Director of Polling at RealClear Opinion Research. “In turn, this can help us gauge where they fall on both political and social issues, although there were definitely some unexpected results that we plan to explore further in the next poll.”

Matthew Bunson, Executive Editor of EWTN News, adds, “In a year in which every vote will likely count, no campaign can ignore Catholics, most so President Trump. Devout Catholics, along with Evangelicals, represent one of his most steadfast bases of support. This means they remain vital to his re-election hopes, and he cannot win in 2020 without them.”



From January 28 to February 4, 2020, RealClear Opinion Research conducted a poll of registered Catholics in the United States. Respondents were contacted online, and the survey was offered in both English and Spanish. The sample size was N=1,521 with a credibility interval of +/-2.77 at the 95% confidence level.


About EWTN:

EWTN News is a service of EWTN Global Catholic Network. In its 38th year, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.

About RealClear Opinion Research:

RealClear Opinion Research is a service from RealClearPolitics that conducts original research on social trends shaping America and the world. For more information, visit

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