1) 43 catholic organizations/churches are named as plaintiffs on several lawsuits
From a report by foxnews.com, on 5/21, several lawsuits were filed to challenge the constitutionality of the contraception mandate. Big names among the 43 plaintiffs are University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Washington DC and The Catholic University of America.
The contraception mandate was a requirement that free contraceptive coverage to be included in health plans that employers offer to their employees. Churches and other houses of worship are exempted from this law. But religious organizations such as hospitals, charities and schools are not exempted.
Facing earlier protests from Catholic groups this year, Obama administration has softened the requirement. As a compromise, the health insurers are now required to provide the coverage in the health plans instead of the religious employers—of course, the cost of such coverage is still included in the policies provided by these religious employers.
However, in order to be exempted the employers/organization has to be determined as “qualified” by the government—under the revised mandate, the qualification is for organizations whose purpose is to spread their religious beliefs and they must also employ and serve people with the same religious values.
2) The timing helps…Romney
The timing of these lawsuits will help Romney, especially in the swing states. After Obama’s announcement of his evolution into a gay marriage supporter, the religious groups need to be rallied for Romney. These law suits can be taken as the position the Catholic churches against Obama, and will push the Catholics (and may be other religious groups) further away from Obama.
What will losing most (if not all) of the Catholic voters do to Obama’s chance this year. Let’s examine on how the Catholics voted in 2008 from the swing states.
North Carolina: NC actually started the so-called “Obama evolution”. Obama came out of his closet to support gay marriage right after NC passed a law banning it with a large margin 61%-39%. In 2008, Obama won this state by 14,177 votes—i.e. 0.3%. It is unlikely that Obama will be able to carry NC this time.
New Hampshire: In 2008, Obama won this state by a large margin, 9.5%. Catholic voters made up 38% of all voters, and about half (i.e. 19% of all voters) of Catholic voters voted for Obama. Both recent social issues—contraception mandate and gay marriage—work Romney’s favor. How these 2 issues will affect the votes of these Catholics in NH? If they can change the votes for just 60% of the Catholic voters for Obama in ’08—i.e. 11.5% of all voters—Romney will win this state. I believe Obama will lose most of the Catholic voters that he won last time.
Iowa: Similarly, Obama won Iowa by a margin of 9.6%. Catholic voters made up 26% of all voters in Iowa, and over 59% of Catholics (i.e. 15.3% of all voters) voted for Obama in 2008. Again, Romney needs at least 63% of the Catholic voters for Obama in ’08 to change their votes in order to carry Iowa this year.
Florida: Obama carried this state in 2008 by a slim margin of 2.8%. Catholic voters made up 28% of all voters, with 50% of them (i.e. 14% of all voters) voted for Obama. Romney needs only 30% of these Catholic voters to change their votes, and Florida is in his W column.
Ohio: In 2008, Obama’s victory margin in this state was 4.6%. Catholic voters made up 23% of all voters, with 47% of the Catholic group (i.e. 10.8% of all voters) voted for Obama. Romney only needs 43% of the Catholic voters for Obama in ’08 to change their votes this time. Ohio looks like a red state for Romney this year.
Wisconsin: In 2008, Obama won WI by a large margin of 13.9%. Catholic voters made up 33% of all voters, and 53% of Catholics (i.e. 17.5% of all voters) voted for Obama. The latest Marquette University poll (5/13) showed Obama and Romney in a tie. Catholics can swing this state into Romney if enough of them are against Obama due to the contraception mandate and the gay marriage.
Pennsylvania: Obama handily won PA in 2008 by a large margin of 10.3%. Catholic voters made up 32% of all voters, with 48% of the group (i.e. 15.4% of all voters) voted for Obama. Romney needs big help here. He needs at least 75% of the Catholic voters for Obama last time to change their votes in order to win PA. Is it do-able? At this point, PA remains a toss-up swing state. The Catholic vote swing may help move this state to Romney if PA remains a close battle between Obama and Romney.
3) Final blow to ObamaCare
Speaking of mandate, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate from ObamaCare by middle or end of next month. It’s a toss-up on whether the Supreme Court will strike the whole ObamaCare as unconstitutional—either partially or fully. That may very well be the final blow to ObamaCare and of course his legacy in the White House.