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Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll

Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE trails several of his potential Democratic challengers in theoretical head-to-head matchups among Catholic voters, though his approval rating has ticked up slightly in the last year among the group, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll, conducted by Real Clear Opinion and Catholic network EWTN, found 47 percent of Catholic voters approve of Trump's job performance. Thirty-four percent of Catholics surveyed said they will definitely vote to reelect Trump.

The president gets particularly high marks from those who identify as devout Catholics, as 63 percent of that subset approve of Trump.

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A Real Clear/EWTN poll of Catholics released in November 2019 showed Trump with a 44 percent approval rating.

Despite the slight bump in approval, Catholic voters still favor most of the president's potential challengers in the November election, Monday's poll found.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE, himself a Catholic, beat Trump 51-40 among Catholic voters in a theoretical head-to-head matchup.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClub for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Inequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift In defense of incrementalism: A call for radical realism MORE (I-Vt.), who appears on track to seize a commanding lead in the Democratic nominating contest, leads Trump among Catholics 50-41.

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden's great challenge: Build an economy for long-term prosperity and security The secret weapon in Biden's fight against climate change Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE is the next most preferred Democrat among those surveyed, leading Trump 48-39 among Catholics, according to the poll. The president also trails Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly MORE, the poll found.

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The survey was conducted Jan. 28-Feb. 4, and 1,521 people were polled. Of those, 274 were identified as devout Catholics. The margin of error in the survey is 2.8 percentage points.

The president has made a concerted effort to appeal to religious voters, evangelical Christians in particular, with policies aimed at protecting religious liberty and the appointment of conservative judges. Both Trump and Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump set for precedent-breaking lame-duck period Trump pardons Michael Flynn O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' MORE have met with the Pope since taking office.

The Trump campaign is expected to launch a "Catholics for Trump" coalition to further build support among the group. 

Trump carried 52 percent of the Catholic vote in 2016 compared to 45 percent for Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's Valadao unseats Cox in election rematch MORE, according to data from Pew Research Center.