As the 2020 general election nears, the second of four polls from EWTN News and RealClear Opinion Research highlights a generational divide when it comes to Catholic teachings on abortion and marriage — one that exists even among more devout Catholics.
It also reveals how younger Catholics, ages 18-34, view the current political landscape and the 2020 candidates.
The poll was taken Jan. 28-Feb. 4 from a sample of 1,521 self-identified Catholics. Of these 1,521 Catholics, 33% were ages 18-34, 28% were ages 35-54, and 39% were 55 and older.
In terms of presidential voting preferences, the youngest age group were those most likely to favor Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the least likely to approve of President Donald Trump.
The 18-34 age group favored Sanders over Trump 58% to 34% and chose him first among the Democratic primary choices, at 35%, with Joe Biden coming next, at 18%. The 35-54 age group still favored Sanders over Trump, but by 50% to 43%, and their Democratic primary pick was Biden, at 29%; Michael Bloomberg, at 23%; and then Sanders, at 19%. Catholics 55 and older chose Trump over Sanders 46% to 44% and chose Biden, at 40%, as their Democratic primary pick, with Sanders lagging, at 18%.
Just 42% of 18- to 34-year-old Catholics approved of President Trump, while 58% disapproved. Those aged 35-54 and 55 and older were more divided on the matter, with both groups giving Trump 49% approval and 51% disapproval.
Recent polling of all U.S. voters ages 18-34 showed that, like Catholics in that age group, their favored candidate is Sanders, who had 31% of their support, according to an October Quinnipiac poll. Voters ages 18-34 have also been giving President Trump comparably low approval ratings, with just 37% approving of him, according to a Harris Hill poll conducted in August.
John Della Volpe, polling director of RealClear Opinion Research, told the Register, “Like other members of their generation, millennial Catholics [18-34] tend to be far more liberal on most issues than their parents and grandparents, who are members of the baby boomer and silent generations.”
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