Rick Santorum, a Roman Catholic, has
not fared well with Catholic voters, exit polls from states that have
held nominating contests show.
According to several analysts,
Santorum's opposition to birth control and gay marriage could be
alienating Catholic voters.
“It's not easy to describe the
typical Catholic anymore,” Thomas Reese, director of the Woodstock
Theological Center, a Jesuit research institute affiliated with
Georgetown University, told Reuters. “We've always traditionally
been the big tent that included people of all stripes.”
In Ohio, Mitt Romney, a Mormon who
holds similar social conservative positions as Santorum but has kept
his campaign focused on President Barack Obama, won 44 percent of the
Catholic vote, while Santorum took 31 percent.
According to a
recent New York Times/CBS News poll, an overwhelming
majority of Catholics support gay unions. Forty-four percent
surveyed favored marriage, and 25 percent said they support civil
unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only 24 percent said the
relationships of gay couples deserve no recognition.
Santorum has previously cited his faith
in explaining his opposition to gay unions.
“Of course, the Catholic Church
teaches that homosexuality is a sin. I'm a Catholic and I subscribe
to the Catholic Church's teaching,” Santorum told CNN's Piers
Morgan, then added: “But that's not relevant from the standpoint of
how I view these issues from a public policy point of view.”