Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll

Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license 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 BidenSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' Biden joins calls to release racial breakdowns of coronavirus cases, deaths MORE, himself a Catholic, beat Trump 51-40 among Catholic voters in a theoretical head-to-head matchup.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' 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 BloombergThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats Sanders staffers will remain on campaign's health care plan through fall Former Clinton staffers invited to celebrate Sanders dropping out: report 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 WarrenSteyer endorses Biden for president Biden joins calls to release racial breakdowns of coronavirus cases, deaths The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats MORE (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats Sanders campaign adviser on what went right and what went wrong Former Clinton staffers invited to celebrate Sanders dropping out: report 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 hits record approval in Fox News poll Pence reverses position barring coronavirus task force members from appearing on CNN: report White House reporter tests negative for coronavirus 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 ClintonBiden releases plans to expand Medicare, forgive student debt The Memo: Sanders's influence endures as campaign ends The two infectious diseases spreading across America MORE, according to data from Pew Research Center.