Is there a Catholic Vote? An Evangelical Vote? Religion, Polls and Presidential Elections

Dec 16, 2020
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Kenneth WoodwardLumen Christi Institute

Peter WehnerEthics and Public Policy Center

William McCreadyUniversity of Michigan


Free and open to the public. This event will be held online through Zoom (registration required) and YouTube live-stream. This event is cosponsored by America Media and the Institute for Human Ecology.

The 2020 presidential race seemed to highlight the central role of religion in the electorate. Democrats spent heavily on campaign ads emphasizing Joe Biden’s Roman Catholicism. President Trump has spent the past four years courting Evangelicals and conservative Catholics. But is there really a religious vote? In this panel, experts will examine the relationship between religion, polls, and presidential elections.


A graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Kenneth L. Woodward received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied literature with the legendary Frank O’Malley. He edited Newsweek’s Religion section from 1964 until his retirement in 2002, which gave him a unique vantage point on and personal acquaintance with the world’s religious leaders. He is the author of Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint and The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. In 2006, the University of Notre Dame gave him its Rev. Robert F. Griffin Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in writing. His most recent publication is entitled Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama.

Peter Wehner is Vice President and Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and a contributing editor for The Atlantic magazine. Mr. Wehner has written for numerous other publications—including Time magazine, the Wall Street JournalWashington PostFinancial TimesThe Weekly StandardNational ReviewCommentaryNational Affairs, and Christianity Today—and has appeared frequently as a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CBS, PBS, and C-SPAN television. He was also the Pamela and Jack Egan Visiting Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the School of Arts and Sciences at Duke University in 2019–2020. Mr. Wehner served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations prior to becoming deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. He is author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After TrumpCity of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (co-authored with Michael J. Gerson), and Wealth and Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism (co-authored with Arthur C. Brooks).

William McCready is a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MA from the University of Chicago. He was previously a senior fellow of the Ministry Leadership Center, whose mission is to form leaders to sustain and deepen the ministry of healing in the Catholic tradition. He has worked in the survey research field for more than 50 years, as the first program director of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, as director of the Public Opinion Lab at Northern Illinois University, and as a vice president of Knowledge Networks, a premier research company with the only probability-based online panel in the nation. He is the author and co-author of many books and directed the CDC-funded Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System as well as projects for the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and McDonald’s Corporation; he is a past member the National Academy of Science’s Committee for a National Urban Policy.