While a number of consensus issues emerged among Catholics including on a preference for substantial abortion restrictions, and attacks on Catholic churches and statues, views within the Catholic community often range widely – depending on factors including frequency of Mass attendance, prayer practices, age, region of country and ethnicity.
More than nine in 10 Catholic likely voters (91%) say they are concerned about the economy and jobs (70% a major concern, 21% a concern but not top of mind). Healthcare is a concern to nearly nine in 10 (89%), a major concern for 66% and a concern for 23%. Coronavirus too was similarly a priority (88%) with 73% calling it a major concern, and 15% a concern.
Catholics were also very concerned about anti-Catholic/anti-religious violence. By a seven to one margin (83% to 12%), the overwhelming majority of Catholic likely voters expressed concern about vandalism and attacks on churches. More than three-quarters of Catholics (78%) and an even greater number of those who attend Mass at least weekly (83%) expressed concern about the anti-Christian elements of the recent protests, only 11% disagreed.
And by more than three to one (74% to 21%), most said they were concerned about attacks on statues of Catholic heroes including Christopher Columbus and St. Junipero Serra. By a similar margin (74% to 19%) respondents expressed concern both about protestors burning bibles in Portland, Ore. and about calls to tear down statues and artwork depicting Jesus as a “white European.”
Three-quarters or more respondents were also concerned about: national security (85%), civil unrest (84%), criminal justice (82%), taxes (80%), race relations (77%), immigration (76%), and foreign policy (75%). Other issues of concern to a majority of Catholics included the Supreme Court (68%), religious liberty (60%), abortion (59%).
By more than two to one (53% to 19%), a majority of respondents said that Catholics should do more to heal the racial divisions in America. That number grew to almost two-thirds of those attending Mass at least weekly (65%) with only 17% disagreeing.
At the same time, a majority of Catholics (59%-34%) are opposed to calls for the defunding of police, and a large majority of Catholics (81%) have a degree of trust in their local police departments to protect and serve them and their families, with 51% saying they trust them “a lot” and 30% saying “a little.” Less than two in 10 (18%) said “not much” or “not at all.”
In addition, the survey found that 76% of Catholics support substantial restrictions on abortion. This includes 82% of Catholics who go to Mass weekly. Three in 10 Catholics also said they were less likely to support a candidate who favored abortion, while 22% said they were more likely to do so, and a third (33%) said it made no difference. Among those who go to Mass at least weekly, a plurality (43%) said they were less likely to support such a candidate, while about half that number (23%) said they were more likely to do so and 22% said it made no difference.