Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catholics Vote Independent of Church Instructions

Here are some random notes about local issues, here in Minnesota!
by Charlie Leck

It appears, according to a very recent poll by the Star Tribune, the major local newspaper in the Twin Cities that a whopping 83 percent of Catholic voters “feel no obligation to vote the way bishops recommend” and 76 percent of them don’t feel elected Catholic officials should feel obligated either. I was very surprised by the results of this poll, but very pleased by it. I hope it’s accurate.

Impact on the Presidential Election
This survey of factors could hint at a very, very important factor in the election results out of Minnesota this year. It could have some impact on how Catholics decide between Obama and Romney, given the discussion this year about health insurance coverage of birth control devices and a hospital’s obligation to perform an abortion on a woman whose life is threaten by the birth process. The Catholic lay attitudes about voter independence could be good news for Obama.

I wonder what the polls results would have been if it had just polled Catholic woman!

It may also have some impact on Congressional candidate that have remained silent on right-to-life and pro-life issues.

Impact on the Marriage Amendment
However, the indicators in this poll could have a very big influence on how Catholics vote on the proposed constitutional amendment to redefine marriage as “only between one man and one woman.” The Catholic Church in Minnesota is spending a great deal of money urging all Catholics to vote in favor of the amendment. My guess now, based on the results of this poll, is that Catholic lay-people, by and large, are making up their own minds on this issue, independent of urgings from the Church.

Polls on the Marriage Amendment in Minnesota
Polling by the Star-Tribune now shows that support for the Marriage Amendment has severely slipped in the last month or two and is now down to 46 percent. Those who oppose the amendment is up to 49 percent.

[Late Edit] An interesting article in Politics in Minnesota, a rag I read pretty faithfully, indicates that polling results and actual voting results have not been close in previous states that have voted on redefining marriage. Those organizations trying to defeat the marriage amendment argue that this is not the case in Minnesota, but it makes one wonder about the accuracy of polling here also.

The main organization directing the campaign against the marriage amendment (Minnesotans United for All Families) has raised significant amounts of money in the last month and is just now easing its campaign into full throttle.

Just for the record, 31 other states in the union have adopted such restrictive constitutional redefinitions of marriage. Minnesota takes pride in being an unusual state, so let’s hope it will stand tall and different on this issue.

U.S. Senate Race in Minnesota
The Star Tribune polling found that the U.S. Senate race here, between current Senator Amy Klobuchar and the Republican candidate, Kurt Bills, is just about over. Klobuchar has a 26 point lead over Bills. Klobuchar is one of the most popular U.S. Senators in the nation.

Minnesota Races for the House of Representatives
Unfortunately, the StarTribune has reported no polls on the U.S. House races in Minnesota. A few of them are extremely important in order for the national Republican Party to remain in control. There is something of a chance that three races in Minnesota could change in those districts from Republican to Democratic. The national parties are watching very closely and spending money on those races.

District 2
John Kline is the incumbent Republican in the House and is being seriously challenged by Mike Obermueller, the Democrat. Some minor polling in that district indicates the race is a toss-up at this point.

District 6
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has a huge war chest and she really hasn’t dipped into it very seriously. And, there haven’t been any polling results in the district that indicate she should need to. Bachmann is running against millionaire hotel owner, Jim Graves. The Graves campaign organization has indicated it has in-house polling that shows him within two points of Bachmann. I don’t believe it for a second. Unfortunately, Bachmann appears to be a sure bet to win.
[Late Edit] Some polling that has just come out overnight gives Bachman a significant edge in her district – maybe as much as 7 to 9 points.
District 8
This is a whopping big Congressional District that includes most of northeast Minnesota and the City of Duluth. The race there is between the Republican incumbent, Congressman Chip Cravaak and former U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan, an old-school Democrat. At the moment the race is a toss-up.

Voter Identification Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution
I’m personally staunchly opposed to the voter i.d. amendment to our constitution here in Minnesota. It has no place in the constitution. Such an important document shouldn’t be cluttered with random items that belong in the state statutes instead. What if you put something like this in the constitution and then find out it doesn’t work properly?… or it’s too expensive?… or it’s actually unfair to large numbers of people? To remove it as law would only call for the legislature to repeal it. To remove it from the constitution would call for another amendment to that document and that would take time and cost a significant amount of money.

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