“What in the world happened to the Traditionalists?!?!,” asks one commenter:
As one might expect, Obama also lost the Traditionalist Catholics, obtaining two-fifths of their votes. Nonetheless, he did better with the Traditionalists than with the Centrist Catholics and markedly better than Kerry’s one-fifth in 2004. This result is a surprise, being the only instance where a group of Traditionalists voted more Democratic than their Centrist coreligionists. This change represents a modest closing of the God Gap among white Catholics (although McCain still did well among regular Mass attenders overall).
Opposition to the Iraq War may account for Obama’s gains among Traditionalist Catholics: In 2004 more than three-quarters supported the war, but a majority opposed it in 2008. The Catholic Church opposed the Iraq War and its leaders, from the pope to parish priests, regularly criticized it. In addition, prominent Catholics joined the debate on related policies, such as the interrogation, surveillance, and detention practices of the Bush administration. It is interesting, however, that such policies could influence these voters, given their other issue positions. For example, Traditionalist Catholics were staunchly pro-life on abortion and, like the Centrist Catholics, tended to hold conservative views on economic issues. And as in 2004, they gave lower priority to economic matters than many other religious groups.
If Centrist Catholics were a bright spot for McCain, then Traditionalist Catholics were a major disappointment. This outcome may reflect the often intense competition between progressive and conservative Catholic activists for the votes of the most committed Catholic voters. Overall, white Catholics made up one-sixth of the Obama vote and one-fifth of McCain’s supporters. If white Catholic ballots are added to minority and Unaffiliated voters, the total accounts for almost three-quarters of all Obama’s ballots.
No definition in the article is given for “Traditionalist Catholic.” It is only distinguished from “Modernist Catholic” and “Centrist Catholic.” Here are the published survey results. I assume the respondents were just given the three options undefined and were left to define and choose themselves.
In any case, the results are very curious indeed. Why would Catholic traditionalists compromise on abortion? One would think that those who are the least secular and the most “supernatural” in their outlook would buck the fear of being a “single issue voter.” All is not well among the “traditionalists.”
No, traditional forms, as important as they are, are not going to save us. Let us hope that inspite of our “orthodoxy” and “traditionalism” we are not whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful but within are full of dead men’s bones and of all filthiness (Mat. 23:27).