Perceptions of Anti-Catholic Bias and Political Party Identification Among U.S. Catholics
Recent controversies in the news over anti-Catholicism alleged by elites on both the left and the right raise the question of how perceptions of religious prejudice relate to political preferences among Catholics. Using survey data on 746 self-identified adult Catholics, we examine the extent to which they perceive anti-Catholic bias and how those perceptions are related to political party identification. Catholics were asked whether they think there is a general anti-Catholic bias in the United States and whether each of seven sociopolitical groups is “hostile,”“friendly,” or “neutral” toward Catholics. The likelihood of perceiving a general anti-Catholic bias in the United States and anti-Catholic hostility from liberal sociopolitical groups increases with more frequent Mass attendance. The likelihood of perceiving hostility from conservative groups is unrelated to attendance. While the perception of a general anti-Catholic bias in the United States does not predict political party identification, perceptions of hostility from liberal groups tend to predict Republican identification, and perceptions of hostility from conservative groups tend to predict Democratic identification. Though perceived hostility from liberal groups has a stronger effect on party identification, we conclude that perceptions of anti-Catholic prejudice are related to the politics of some Catholics on both the left and the right.
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