"The Liberals were able to coast to victory in 2000 with the support of two key groups: visible minorities and Catholics," the study says, but "by 2008, the Liberals could no longer count on their loyalty."
"The Catholic vote tells a similar story," they say, with Catholic support dropping "a massive 24 points" since the 2000 election, dropping from 54% to 30% in 2008. In 2006, the Liberals and Conservatives received about the same percentage of the Catholic vote, but by 2008, the Conservatives far exceeded the Liberals with over 40%.
They say that the most important factor in 2004 and 2006 was the sponsorship scandal, but pro-life concerns also had a major impact. While "opposition to same-sex marriage did not have a significant effect on the probability that a Catholic vote would vote Liberal," the study says, "...in 2006, views about abortion did."
In 2008, however, Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage was a factor, it says. "The story is different in 2008. It was not Dion and it was not the green shift. In contrast to 2004 and 2006, Catholics who oppose same-sex marriage were less likely to vote Liberal."
The other major new factor in the 2008 election, according to the study, was the vote of Catholics who believe in the divine inspiration of Scripture.[ RE:Serious Catholics!] In 2008, they say, "for the first time, Catholics who believe that the Bible is the literal word of God were significantly less likely to vote Liberal."
The authors conclude that "the Liberals can no longer take the support of Catholics or visible minority voters for granted. ... Catholics and minority voters have been the twin pillars of Liberal dominance, but their support is clearly crumbling. The Liberals' failure to own a single major issue in 2008 underlines just how serious the party's situation has become."
If anyone in the Liberal Party is reading: if you give me someone who is pro-life and will present a fetal rights bill, I will vote for them.
Note the two conditions.
I'm not satisfied with just pro-life. They have to be a candidate willing to do something about the rights of unborn children.
You want to reach out to religious groups? Reach out to pro-lifers. If the cost's too high: enjoy Opposition status.