The results of the poll and some of the responses suggest to me a particular model of Catholic cognitive bias in voting in the U.S.
First, consider that abortion and global warming are both considered to be evils. The poll was conducted based on abortion and global warming, but it could just as easily been conducted based on stem cell research and gun control, homosexual unions and financial regulation, or a number of other contrasts.
Second, consider that the two dominant U.S. political parties have split both on these issues.
Third, consider the “non-negotiables” approach to voting advocated by some Catholic organizations, including Catholic answers. Such an approach places greater weight on abortion than global warming. (Not criticizing this, only describing it).
Fourth, as a result of the partisan split on issues, prioritizing abortion causes one to vote in a manner that would seem to allow global warming to continue unabated.
Fifth, this voting pattern produces cognitive dissonance, whereby in voting to stop one evil, the awareness of voting to allow another evil to continue produces discomfort.
Sixth, to mitigate this cognitive dissonance, the voter who prioritizes abortion has a cognitive preference in favor of information that downplay the existence or potential harms of global warming.
Seventh, over time, the preference for information that supports one’s voting habits causes one to consider as valid only those pieces of information that support one’s electoral choices.
I would suggest that this model is universal. Take hard-core environmentalists. They might support global warming over everything else in their voting, and as a result, selectively cite evidence that abortion is not really a problem. Or contraceptive advocates, who are likley to discount evidence that contraceptive hormones in women’s urine produces toxic effects in fish, and possibly contributes to the earlier age of puberty seen in modern children.
What do you think?