One-fifth of Republicans are conservative or observant Catholics and look like the history of industrialized America that took pro-life, socially conservative, patriotic Catholics into the Republican Party, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. That is why we conducted one of our focus groups for the Trump-GOP project among Catholic conservative men from Macomb County, Michigan. The participants reflected that history: seven-in-ten were 50 or older, making them the oldest voters in the GOP base, and they held traditional blue color jobs in the auto-industry, mechanics, and construction.
With the importance of their pro-life position and President Trump addressing the trade issue, none of these voters entertained voting for Democrats in 2018, but many felt less motivated to keep Democrats out of power and to defend Donald Trump. In 2020, half said they would be open to voting for a third-party challenger if someone like John Kasich, who better reflects their Catholic values, ran against the president.