Third in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.
White non-Hispanic Catholics supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a wide margin in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of exit polls and subsequent survey of validated voters.
Preliminary exit poll data suggests that Joe Biden improved his standing with those voters, losing white Catholics by 57 percent to 42 percent, compared to Clinton’s 64 percent to 31 percent deficit. That’s consistent with some polls taken during the campaign, which showed Biden gaining support among white Catholics–not surprising, since the Democratic nominee frequently referred to his Catholic faith and upbringing in public appearances.
I expected Biden to improve substantially on Clinton’s performance in Iowa’s most heavily Catholic counties, where “Kennedy Democrats” were once a solid voting bloc. But that didn’t happen.
On the contrary, Trump increased his raw vote totals and share of the vote in those counties, as he did in many parts of the state.