Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

November 6, 2008

CLOSING THE 'GOD GAP'.... Over the last couple of elections, we've heard quite a bit about the relationship between religiosity and political preferences. The phrase "God gap" became surprisingly common, and was identified as another high hurdle for the Democrats to clear.

This year, the Democratic Party, and the Obama campaign in particular, made a concerted effort to turn the tide. The efforts clearly paid electoral dividends.

Four years ago, Bush beat Kerry among weekly church-goers, 61% to 39%. This year, McCain beat Obama with the same constituency, but by a much small margin, 55% to 43%.

The estimable Steven Waldman notes that this reflects a "stunning 12 million person shift," and speculates on the cause.

No Democrat since Jimmy Carter has spoken as openly, and as often, about his personal faith.... Obama's campaign distributed literature during the primaries that described ""That day Obama felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life." One panel on the brochure, "Called to Bring Change," declares, "We do what we do because God is with us." Another described his belief in "the power of prayer," and another, labeled, "Called to Christ," stated, "Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works."

This had two purposes: one was reaching out to religious voters. The other was to show him as a mainstream, culturally conservative person. Obama might not be able to bowl, but he sure could pray.

The Wall Street Journal added:

The [Obama] campaign wooed clergy in ways small and huge, from personal notes and meetings with Mr. Obama to large Christian "faith rallies" intended to win over young Protestants. It trained thousands of volunteers to frame social concerns such as poverty as moral issues, while benefiting from the work of several small, liberal Catholic nonprofits that separately contacted churchgoers to present topics such as poverty, immigration, war and the environment as moral issues, while downplaying abortion.

"They let it be known, 'We want their vote, he deserves their vote...and we are not going to automatically assume you are going to vote for the Republicans,'" said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Houston supporter of Mr. Obama and a United Methodist pastor who has had longstanding ties to President Bush's family.

Not only did Obama win the Catholic vote by nine points, 54% to 45%, but he also made gains among evangelicals, whose support for Republicans dropped six points from 2004 to 2008.

Tony Perkins, president of the far-right Family Research Council, explained the shift this way: "The base is like flypaper, and the undecideds are the flies, and the base has got to be sticky. In this election, the base never became sticky."

I'm not entirely sure what this means, but I think Perkins believes the Republicans weren't nearly right-wing enough. I'm pretty sure he has it backwards.

Steve Benen 2:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Obama's candidacy may have led the way to passage of Proposition 8, since the black community is more socially conservative than other ethnic groups. Whether his religious outreach played a role in that heavy black turnout is uncertain.

Posted by: Vincent on November 6, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP "base" would have been plenty sticky if George W. Bush had been a good President. He wasn't. A lot of people may be Republicans because they go to church every week, but most people who go to church every week don't do it because they are Republicans. Four years after voting for a President who let the country down, many of these people rendered a verdict.

Everything else is incidental to that -- not to say that campaign tactics and atmosphere weren't important, but Americans don't change the way they vote from election to election based primarily on that kind of thing. A President does a bad job, his party suffers. That's the story of the 2008 election right there.

Posted by: Zathras on November 6, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Bringing up Carter reminds me to ask: Why aren't Democrats demanding a 100-day suspension of the filibuster from their Senators? Is the win on Tuesday going to turn us all into wimps again?

Posted by: James on November 6, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Tony Perkins, president of the far-right Family Research Council, explained the shift this way: "The base is like flypaper, and the undecideds are the flies, and the base has got to be sticky. In this election, the base never became sticky."


So bascially independent (or low information voters) are insects/prey meant to be caught? What a terrible similie. Even the base's colorful language reveals how they actually think. It's disgusting.

Posted by: Mick on November 6, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Where's Amy Sullivan when we need her?

Posted by: CJColucci on November 6, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

One really important thing: Obama got his answer to the abortion
question exactly right in the 2nd debate. He mumbled the line
from the party platform and then went on to say, essentially, our
job is to create a world where it is unnecessary.

That's a position a lot of people can live with.

Posted by: Alphonse on November 6, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Tony Perkins' comparing the base to flypaper was quite accurate this year: The base may look like like something you want to gravitate toward, but eventually it will kill you.

Posted by: gradysu on November 6, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why aren't Democrats demanding a 100-day suspension of the filibuster from their Senators? Is the win on Tuesday going to turn us all into wimps again? Posted by: James

I think that Obama can do a lot to quash this before he takes office. He just needs to keep repeating over and over to the public for the next three months being very specific what he wants done out of the gate. If the public then learns that senator(s) X is playing politics as usual, then he will start getting a rash of shit from constituents.

I think Obama's going to have problems on both sides of the aisle, and so will have to go to the public to make his case on some issues, especially where vested interests lie.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. Let's totally woo the Chrisitanists, to use Sullivan's term. There's only 30 states with marriage amendments! Democrats can do better!


Seriously, I look forward to a national election where the left and the right, after vigorously debating their differences, do not unite in their belief that gay Americans are lesser. As it is, we've just elected a progressive black Constitutional scholar who supports the separate but equal solution for gay marriage.

Posted by: gex on November 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Where's Amy Sullivan when we need her? Posted by: CJColucci

Shush!

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

The base did become shitty enough.

Posted by: lou on November 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

What a terrible simile

I was kind of thinking Perkins was more like a rotting carcass.

Posted by: Danp on November 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Vincent wrote: "Obama's candidacy may have led the way to passage of Proposition 8, since the black community is more socially conservative than other ethnic groups."

I heard a "pastor" from a "black mega-church" in California speaking on the radio this morning, gloating over the passage of Proposition 8. Sad to say, he was every bit as much of a disgusting, arrogant, hateful bigot towards gays as any right-wing extremist so-called "Christian" supporter of Sarah Palin.

When it was pointed out that not too many years ago, similar state laws prohibiting interracial marriages were similarly supported by "Christians" as reflecting "God's word", he just shrugged it off.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 6, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I think Perkins' analogy is correct, but it's not the stickiness, because the flies aren't actually joining the trap. To lure the flies, the base needs to be attractive to the flies. And conservatives just keep making it less attractive with each election.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on November 6, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I still believe a person's religion (or lack thereof) should be private and not factor into political service. But these are different times and it's become ever more important to publicly announce ones "Christianity". Although I can understand the reason for Obama to be so open about being a Christian (since it's so important to him), it still rankles me. One can still be a wonderful, outstanding, good & kind person without the "religious" label. Oh well, I've been told that "I'm going to hell" too many times because of my lack of belief - it's affected my judgment a wee bit!

Posted by: whichwitch on November 6, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I still believe a person's religion (or lack thereof) should be private and not factor into political service. But these are different times and it's become ever more important to publicly announce ones "Christianity". Although I can understand the reason for Obama to be so open about being a Christian (since it's so important to him), it still rankles me. One can still be a wonderful, outstanding, good & kind person without the "religious" label. Oh well, I've been told that "I'm going to hell" too many times because of my lack of belief - it's affected my judgment a wee bit! Posted by: whichwitch

Yup.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm not entirely sure what this means........."

Elementary, Mr. Benen. It means that not enough independents were swept up by the Religion Police (RP's), tortured and\or brainwashed, and told "don't leave town" (the 'sticky' part).

You are an American, are you not?

Posted by: bobbyp on November 6, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

You are missing the point completely.

Basically, Obama did better than Kerry by between 5 and 10 points. It was virtually accross the board.

So he picked up 10% among weekly church goers.

Assuming the rest of the electorate is not 'weekly church goers' then he also picked up about 10% among them.

Obama is a devote Christian. McCain hasn't been seen in a church in years. However, it didn't make any difference.

Obama picked up about 10% in both groupsl

Posted by: neil wilson on November 6, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of trying to woo the delusional we should be trying to educate them and bring them out of the dark ages into the world of reason.
I can not see the difference between a flat earther and a christian, a gravity denier and a moslem, insert continued parallels of insanity for jewish, hindu and other cults ( with the exception of the FSM), any and all of these fantasies are dangerous to humanity.
If one is so delusional that they "believe" in a mystical figure that controls all but invisibly and perceive the universe through the prism of their delusions are obviously to deranged to be trusted.
Alas because today, like the dark ages, the delusional are in ascendent based upon fear, hate and bigotry.
Hopefully we will see the day when these people are getting the medical/psychiatric care they so obviously need and the yoke of their delusions is removed from the neck of humanity.
I do pity them, I fear the damage their delusions will continue to visit upon the world.

Posted by: Ken on November 6, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

"I think Perkins believes the Republicans weren't nearly right-wing enough. I'm pretty sure he has it backwards."

I'm pretty sure that he has it right! I am very hopeful that the social conservative leaders will either take control of the repugnican party or leave it. Either alternative would be fine with me!

Remember the words of bible and Jesus Christ, as preached by the rad right:

From the 10 commandments - Thou shalt not kill, except for wars & capital punishment & abortionists & etc.

From the sermon on the mounts - It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a poor man to go to heaven.

Posted by: HopefulOldVet on November 6, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

And SHAME on Obama, Waldman and all the rest of the Xians.

Read the Constitution, fuckers. No religious test for office.

As far as I'm concerned, only atheists are qualified to serve in federal office.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on November 6, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't a case be made to all the religious people that God voted for Obama too? I mean, if you go in for that kind of thing, and I understand that quite a few religious people do believe in God, then you'd have to reckon that He took time out from fixing sporting events and making food more nourishing and making the sun rise and set and helping people stop drinking to cast the winning ballot in the most important election in history.

And if that ain't a mandate, I don't know what one is.

If you buy into all that jazz.

Posted by: chrenson on November 6, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

I am so sick of God, and I've never even met it.

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on November 6, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

@chrenson

Thank you, funniest post today!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on November 6, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

What Obama has demonstrated is that while Americans are besotted by religion they haven't taken total leave of their senses. The bigotry, know-nothing small mindedness, and intolerance of the Christianists is far from widespread, and no longer transendent. With the disintegration of the unstable Republican coalition, the Perkins, Robertsons, and others of that ilk can go back to whipping their shrinking cults with more fear and paranoia; and leave the rest of us alone.

Obama is in the mold of a humanistic Christianity that I grew up with, not the bellicose, militaristic, nationalistic, materialistic, tortured funamentalist version it has morphed into recently. Our homegrown Taliban has suffered a major setback. May it prove to be fatal.

Posted by: rich on November 6, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree that this is in any way a good thing. We should be striving for a political discourse that is entirely free of religion, not one in which candidates have to specifically pander to Christians.

Posted by: lylebot on November 6, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Trollop: Have a blessed day. [If you buy into all that jazz.]

Posted by: chrenson on November 6, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, FWIW (and OT)...I miss This Week in God big time. It was always one of my fav features of yours.

Posted by: MsJoanne on November 6, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

One of the biggest problems with many religions--particularly Judaism, Christianity and Islam--is the question of why God would have chosen to only send important revelations to a very small portion of humanity. To proponents of the three religions listed above, I would ask: Why did God only make enormously important religious revelations known to a small number of people in the Middle East? What was so special about these people? Why not broadcast the Ten Commandments or Jesus or the Koran to all of humanity everywhere? Couldn't an all-powerful, supernatural being do that? Why just tell a few people and hope the word spreads around?

Posted by: Lee on November 6, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Now, on topic: If you read right wing blogs (like I do), they (and the Palin crowd) put their faith in God, prayed to God, knew that God would do the right thing...so to follow up with what chrenson said, should they not be bowing at Obama's feet, since God did the right thing? (their words, not mine)

Uhm...someone let me know if that ever happens.

Posted by: MsJoanne on November 6, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Lylebot: We should be striving for a political discourse that is entirely free of religion, not one in which candidates have to specifically pander to Christians.

You're absolutely right, of course. But religion has been whipped up by the right wing for 40 years now. And now, some of the religious folks are seeing that they can be religious and vote democrat too. With so much speculation swirling about Obama's "real" religion, I find it extremely hopeful that the rumors didn't cost him the election.

And I think that Obama can do a lot for religious tolerance in general. And, if he can, maybe we can get the God question off the ballot the same way we've made race a much smaller part of the equation; by talking about it and promoting tolerance and openmindedness.

Posted by: chrenson on November 6, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

In the 2006 congressional elections it was not the base but Mark Foley who was famously sticky. More recently, Larry Craig.

Posted by: skimble on November 6, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Yellow Dog wrote: "Read the Constitution, fuckers. No religious test for office. As far as I'm concerned, only atheists are qualified to serve in federal office."

The Constitution says exactly nothing about what "tests" individual voters may apply to candidates for office. It only prohibits the government from applying a "religious test".

And you have just stated that you yourself apply a strict "religious test for office" (atheism).

So by your own account, you are exactly like a voter who says "as far as I'm concerned, only Christians are qualified to serve in federal office".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 6, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Black man, professing his Christian faith, with lovely family in tow, is elected President of the US.

Anyone like to guess how long it will take for either a homosexual or an atheist to achieve that feat? How about never?

Posted by: pat the athiest on November 6, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think what Perkins meant to say is that until you become an amorphous, unthinking part of his whole you are not one of "them".

Somehow he's made flies more attractive. Long live the flies!

Boy, these Repblinuts know how to screw with my mind!

Posted by: notthere on November 6, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

And Obama supports unconstitutional "faith based" programs. Another reason I voted Green.

You can be a constitutional law professor; that doesn't mean you understand the constitutional well. Faith based programs, FISA 45 percenter, etc. etc.

Pat the Atheist, I would say "Amen," but yes, you're right.

CJ/Jeff II, if we're lucky, Amy took her whoring ways with Kevin to Mother Jones.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 6, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus would be rolling over in his grave...if they ever found it...to be so involved in petty politics. This is power dangerously used that one day will turn to suppression.

Posted by: joey on November 6, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK
Anyone like to guess how long it will take for either a homosexual or an atheist to achieve that feat? How about never?

You may be right, but if either of these happens, it will be the homosexual before the atheist. Not holding my breath, of course.

Posted by: noncarborundum on November 6, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

This math is totally wrong. He didn't pick up 12 million voters.

121 million total voters * 40% = 48.4M weekly or more voters.

Difference between 2004 and 2008 = 3% I will double because every percent for Obama is not for McCain

.03* 48.4M = ~3million voters. Substantial, extremely substantial, but not 12 million.

Come on, fellow liberals. Learn to do basic math. And then take the extra step of learning to estimate numbers from just looking at them. gods!


Posted by: mickslam on November 6, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

humanistic Christianity

Oxymoron. No such thing.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on November 6, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves if they heard about this...and weren't dead...and had enough room in their coffins to roll. Of course, none of the Founding Fathers could get elected today, considering what we do know about their religious beliefs and how much they made sure the public didn't know. (Of the first six presidents, Adams and Q Adams were Unitarians, Jefferson was a Deist, Madison probably a Deist,and no one knows much about Washington or Monroe because they kept their views to themselves.)
The Dems have decided that they need to join the Great Big Suck-Up-To-God-athon, instead of standing on principle. There's no chance of change until people who don't like it, be they atheists or believers, start voting against it.

Posted by: Tim H on November 6, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yellow Dog, Does this preclude being a Zarathustra Boosta, or a Fluid Druid?

Posted by: berttheclock on November 6, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yellow Dog, Does this preclude being a Zarathustra Boosta, or a Fluid Druid? Posted by: berttheclock

What about Rastafarians? State dinners would be dicey, but the hair and music would be cool.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

A very timely post, because tonight I get to go hear Dan Barker of FFRF speak. If you don't like candidates doing this stuff, take action. Join one of the groups like FFRF or AU. Be visible. E-mail your reps when they get out of line. It definately won't change if you don't.

And yes, we desperately need This Week in God back. Pretty please with Dobson's head on a pike on top. (not meant literally. No reason to ruin a perfectly good pike.)

Posted by: Tim H on November 6, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

berttheclock and jeffII - only exceptions are for Pastafarians - devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on November 6, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Obama totally nailed the Muslim vote.

Posted by: Trollhattan on November 6, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, fellow liberals. Learn to do basic math. And then take the extra step of learning to estimate numbers from just looking at them. gods!Posted by: mickslam

mickslam, get a grip. Talk about angels dancing on the head of a pin hairsplitting. This kind of information is based primarily on exit polls, and we know the reliability of these. These are non-falsifiable factoids.

America is a nominally religious nation with Christians (Catholics still in the overwhelming majority amongst them) making up the largest self-identified group. However, we are not really a religious nation and certainly not a socially conservative nation.

Obama's alleged pick ups amongst self-identified Christians is undoubtedly based on the recognition that he is a decent and serious man and that McCain represented more of the same failed policies of the last eight years.

Short of having the evangels being told from the pulpit and by the usual public suspects (Dobson, et al) that they would vote for Obama, there would be no conclusive proof that the serious Jesus folk were much help to him. Furthermore, they simply don't need to be pandered to in order to win election with good candidates. They may still dominate rural constituencies, but not urban, and most Americans live in urban areas.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that infuriated me over the passed 8 years was this myth that only Republicans 'knew' God. It angered me that they had co-opted God. A dear Democratic friend of mine, confined to a wheel-chair because of Muscular Dystrophy, attends a church in which the congregation consists largely of Republicans. One constant refrain she hears time and again is "How can you be a Democrat and a Christian?" It is pathetic.

I don't follow any organized religion per se, but I absolutely despise how the Republicans try to own religion as their own, and deny Democrats of faith.

Posted by: JWK on November 6, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Someone has almost certainly said this already, but...

The shift in church-going folk is roughly the same as that for the country as a whole, which was +9.4% for the Democrat vs. 2004. Obama did better across the board in nearly every demographic group, so there's no real need for a special explanation as to why he did better among church-goers. And if there is, I would simply chalk it up to 1) bread and butter issues clearly outweighing cultural issues during this cycle, or 2) McCain not being the darling of the evangelicals the way Bush was. I see no reason to think that Obama's religiosity was exceptionally helpful, especially when you consider Rev. Wright.

Posted by: Steve Reuland on November 6, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

A fellow stopped posting here, a few years back, due to dustups over religion. However, I would imagine LW Phil is one happy voter in So Cal due to the surge by President-Elect Obama and the winning of so many Congressional seats. He happens to be a strong Democrat and a Christian. They do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I just don't want some Fundie telling me I have to stop singing Pete Seger's "Give me that Old Time Religion", which includes Fluid Druids and Boostas of a Zorathrustrian bent. Must add "Pastafarians" to a new verse, thanks to the above comments. Aren't those the ones Double Talk kept throwing up against the wall to see which would stick?

Posted by: berttheclock on November 6, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

berttheclock and jeffII - only exceptions are for Pastafarians - devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Posted by: Yellow Dog

What about Frisbeetarians?

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: Catholics are by a considerable margin the single largest Christian denomination, but according to my sources they make up less than half the total number of Christians in the US. Protestants in total are slightly fewer; add in Orthodox of various sorts and various other groups that don't fall within one of those three classes (Adventists, Mormons, Salvation Army, Mennonites, etc.) and Catholics are probably around 45% of all Christians. Not even a majority, and certainly not an overwhelming one.

Posted by: DavidNOE on November 6, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Frisbeetarians"

Aren't they barred from all off leash parks?

Posted by: berttheclock on November 6, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

as noted upthread "Obama totally nailed the Muslim vote." somewhere between 66 and 90%....
he ALSO took the jewish vote with overwhelming majorities ['round 75%].... that's one heck of a colilition right there..... a uniter...not a divider....

although, credit where it's due...bush was a uniter...the whole world and most of the u.s. hated him equally....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on November 6, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

I think Steve Reuland has it right. Not that anecdotes are data, but in canvassing in rural MO this year (heavily Catholic areas), the economy trumped other issues for a percentage of voters who would otherwise have been voting for the proclaimed "pro-life" candidate.

The other thing to remember about Catholics is that it is not only faith, but also works that matter. The Rs have done nothing to improve the lot of low-income women which would have allowed them to better raise the children they do have. As one Catholic, pro-life woman who has held signs up on the side of the road on the "celebrate life" days around here said to me "Pro-life means more than just pro-baby." You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Posted by: cv on November 6, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: Catholics are by a considerable margin the single largest Christian denomination, but according to my sources they make up less than half the total number of Christians in the US. Protestants in total are slightly fewer; . . .Posted by: DavidNOE

Actually, Protestants make up just over 50% of self-identified Christians in the U.S. But lumping all the Protestants into a group makes no sense. Think of the continuum from Episcopalians to the speaking-in-tongues ("Burnin' down the house") and snake-handler types. Except perhaps for gathering on Sundays, there is little in common theologically and nothing in common philosophically. In fact, Old Line Protestants typically find S. Baptists and the rest of the Holy-Rollers pretty silly - too much heart and almost no mind. Then there are the Mormons.

http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html

Posted by: Jeff II on November 6, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK


Please leave the mystical sky daddies and atmospheric fairies and other delusions of godhood out of public decision making. Christianists, in particular, need to be reminded that this country is pluralistic and that you don't need to pledge your undying love to an invisible sky fairy to be a good person.

Posted by: dejah on November 6, 2008 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ken and Yellow Dog:

You are entitled to your viewpoints. I, as a progressive Christian, am also entitled to mine.

You paint with WAY too broad a brush. Please do not think that all Christians believe in the same way that Perkins, Dobson, and their ilk do. Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc., all have their wacko fundamentalists as well, but they don't represent the whole of those religions anymore than fundamentalist Christians speak for all Christians.

I don't expect you to be anything other than atheist and I respect your right to be such. Please grant me and other people the same respect, and don't dismiss us as having no capacity to reason.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on November 6, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nate Silver has a useful post up which shows how Obama did among various demographic groups compared to Kerry:

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/obama-outperforms-kerry-among-virtually.html

Obama performed better among nearly every demographic group no matter who they were. (The odd exception was gays and lesbians, among whom he lost 7 points. Don't ask me.)

Obama was +4 among weekly churchgoers. This is not very impressive, and in fact represents a slight underperformance vs. the population as a whole. (Obama was +5 among men and +5 among women. I'm pretty sure he was also +5 among people who prefer raspberry to strawberry.)

The religious group he made the most gains with was the "No Religion" group, among whom he was +8. The one group he made the least gains with was "Other Religions", probably because the Democrats had already maxed out that category, taking roughly roughly 75% of it in 2004. Two notable groups where there was large room for improvement yet budged very little were the evangelicals, and (drum roll).... weekly churchgoers.

Frankly, the idea that Obama "closed the God Gap" or "turned the tide" among highly religious voters is sheer nonsense. He made much bigger gains among non-religious voters, and weekly churchgoers were less likely to shift his way than the average voter. I look forward to Steve Benen's correction.

Posted by: Steve Reuland on November 6, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

A dear Democratic friend of mine, confined to a wheel-chair because of Muscular Dystrophy, attends a church in which the congregation consists largely of Republicans. One constant refrain she hears time and again is "How can you be a Democrat and a Christian?"

Well, over the past century you could go into a lot of northeastern cities and find plenty of Christian Democrats (and no, I'm not referring to some European political party). Of course, these people were -- and are -- mainly Catholics, and I'm sure many of these right-wing fundies still don't consider them Christians (thank the Lord that Al Smith lost in 1928, and never got to build that secret tunnel from the Vatican to the White House!).

Posted by: Vincent on November 7, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly