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Saturday, September 4, 2004

Distracted by the 'God gap.'

An important reminder from two prominent sociologists of religion about President Bush's real political base:

[T]he fashionable image of masses of white evangelical voters, stirred up by the tricks of Karl Rove and led by Bible-thumping clergymen, marching in lock step to deny rights to women and to gays, is hardly born out by the data. Rather, the real Republican base is the same as it was before Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy" appealed to religious Protestants in 1968: the wealthy and the powerful. . . .

One-fifth of white Americans who belong to "fundamentalist" churches (like Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, Holiness, Pentecostal and Missouri Synod Lutheran) are remarkably pluralistic in their political and social attitudes. While it is true that white evangelicals tend to be more conservative socially, as well as religiously, than the average American, there is little correlation between religious conservatism and political conservatism. . . .

In fact, polling data show that President Bush's real base is not religious but economic, the group he jokingly referred to as "the haves and the have mores." . . .

If the Republicans were to lose their 18-point advantage among the affluent, it would cost them about four percentage points nationwide in the election, more than twice the cost if they were to lose their edge among evangelicals.

Make sure the read the rest. ("A Hidden Swing Vote: Evangelicals," Michael Hout and Andrew M. Greeley, New York Times 9.4.04, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 4 September 2004 at 10:28 PM

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