In today's National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters (MSW) reacts to the President's visit to see the Pope, as well as the bad behavior by American Cardinal Raymond Burke and the how this all relates to the November election and the fight between both parties for the Catholic vote. You can read his analysis at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/potus-pope-mtg
I posted a response just now, which includes my thoughts on the NCAA tournament.
I suspect Francis does not listen to Cardinal Burke much, unless it is to hear his side on an appeal from a decision by the Signatura. Burke is attracting attention to himself to sound relevant. He is not. I suspect that this was a friendly visit - much on the order of the one Michigan State will make to the White House after they win the NCAA (I wish I had done a pool this year, I always pick them to win unless Iowa is in the mix - sadly they did not make it past the play in).
As for the election, politics and the engineering of turnout are local. If the machinery of 2012 is still in place, don't expect turnout to be so low. Economic and programatic changes just might improve by late spring or summer, when most make up their minds - and frankly, there may be mind changing in October and November.
As for the empahses of the parties - no one in the Democratic Party - and especially no Catholic politician - has laid out how bad a fraud the pro-life leadership is - with a Caholic politician pointing out how agregious the conduct of the Bishops is in this matter. Of course, to do that the Democratic Catholic politician would have to lay out what could be done on the pro-life side (and what cannot be done) and take heat from the pro-abortion side (as opposed to the pro-choice side). They can also differentiate between being pro-abortion (which is a sin) and pro-choice (which is about liberty, not promoting abortion). Sadly, most Catholic pols don't have the stomach to challenge the bishops directly for fear of alienating Catholic voters (even those that agree).