A significant religious divide has opened up in the country. IBD/TIPP polls taken in March and April show that Christians — including both Protestants and Catholics — strongly oppose President Obama on almost every issue, from his economic policies, to his attempts at a deal with Iran, to his immigration policies. Those Americans without religious affiliation remain enthusiastic supporters.
Interestingly, Catholics and Protestants — groups sometimes viewed as diverging politically — are in close agreement on most issues.
One exception is immigration, where 61% of Catholics favor securing the border first over comprehensive reform vs. 46% of Protestants.
Also a surprise is the fact that Catholics give Obama slightly lower approval ratings than Protestants (37% vs. 40%). Protestants, on the other hand, are somewhat more supportive of Israel, the polls found.
Where Obama draws his strongest backing — across the board — is from those who claim no religious affiliation at all. Fully 59% of this group approve of the job Obama is doing, for example.
The poll, taken over two months, found that slightly more than half of those surveyed identified themselves as either Protestant or Catholic, while 21% indicated another religion, and 21% said they had no religious affiliation.
Given Obama's trouble with the working class, as shown in a previous IBD/TIPP poll analysis, it seems that Republicans now have a significant opportunity to strengthen their coalition among the growing population of disaffected working class and religious voters.