In what the Wall Street Journal is calling "one of the biggest upsets in U.S. political history," Donald Trump won the presidential election with 290 electoral college votes to Hillary Clinton's 232. Not only did he win the electoral votes by a wide margin, he secured the Catholic vote by margins larger than those enjoyed by any Republican candidate in the last five elections.
Leading into Election Day, polls had Trump leading Clinton with Catholics as many as 20 points, with the November 3 IBD/TIPP poll showing 54 percent of Catholics would vote for Trump as opposed to only 34 percent for Clinton. Although that margin began decreasing towards Tuesday, the final results show more Catholics voted for Trump than for his opponent.
A Pew Research poll compares the numbers, and shows that Trump won the Catholic vote by a 7-percent margin — larger than that enjoyed by George W. Bush in 2004, the last time more Catholics favored the Republican candidate over the Democrat.
A CNN national exit poll shows that, of the 23 percent of voters who identified as Catholic in this election, 52 percent voted for Trump, while only 45 percent voted for Clinton.
Compare the numbers with the 2012 race between Obama and Mitt Romney, where 25 percent of voters were Catholic and 50 percent of that number voted for Obama as opposed to 48 percent for Romney. The margin was even wider in 2008, where 27 percent of voters were Catholic, with 54 percent of them supporting Obama over only 45 percent for Republican hopeful John McCain.
The loss in Clinton's popularity among Catholics — whom polls as late as September showed were supporting Clinton in large numbers — is likely owing to WikiLeaks emails revealing top campaign staffers mocking and denigrating the Catholic Church, calling it a "middle ages dictatorship" with "severely backwards gender relations," as well as emails showing a desire to foment rebellion "à la Occupy" against the Church in order to force it to change its teachings on contraception.
The more recent revelations tying Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta to the occult activity of "spirit cooking," a ritual established by famed satanist Aleister Crowley and which involves consuming menstrual blood, semen and breast milk, also did little to help Clinton's popularity among believers.
Trump also began a more targeted outreach to Catholics after hiring Catholic Steve Bannon of Breitbart.com to be his campaign chairman, releasing a message to Catholics over the weekend promising to fight for Catholics' values.