Date of Award

Winter 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Mary Malone


This thesis evaluates whether Catholics are swing voters, how their voting behavior has changed from 1992 to 2004, and what issues are influencing their voting behavior. National Election Survey datasets from 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 are used. Two models are evaluated, the ethnoreligious model and the culture wars thesis. In addition, this thesis looks at whether Catholics tend to be single-issue voters.

The research and analysis of this thesis support the conclusion that Catholics are not swing voters and that their voting patterns are more similar to the general electorate than ever before. Although religious, class and cultural issues have significantly influenced Catholic voting behavior, they also have significantly influenced non-Catholic voting behavior in similar ways. While the "Catholic Vote" may once have been a significant factor in electoral politics, today Catholics are more likely to vote like the rest of the country than ever before.