2006 Religious vote same for Republicans as 2004

So, I just read an article that is further repudiation of Rove's strategy of getting out the religious right voter base as a means of winning elections.

The article, by the NY Times, is here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/09/us/pol itics/09relig.html?ref=politics

What is especially interesting to the left is that it should once and for all prove that this block of voter is not absolutely crucial to winning elections. Obama deservedly got in trouble prior to this election by creating the false frame that any Democrat who is for secularism is somehow against religion-- in part, I suspect because of fear over the power of the religios right. This should decrease any such anxiety.

This paragraph was especially shocking to read:

"When it came to turnout, white evangelicals and born-again Christians made up about 24 percent of those who voted, compared with 23 percent in the 2004 election. And 70 percent of those white evangelical and born-again Christians voted for Republican Congressional candidates nationally, also little changed from the 72 percent who voted for such candidates in 2004."

In other words, the percentage were so close that Rove and company can not claim they didn't get out their base of voters.  This is surprising because like many I assumed that scandals like Foley and Haggard would depressed the evangelical vote. There was every indicator from the Pew study a month ago that it would. There was, however, a NY Times story showing anecdotal evidence that showed that there would be no impact. Apparently, that anecdotal evidence reflected more of the reality.

The question to me- is with this full repudiation of Rove's strategy, why isn't his days as an advisor to the Republican party numbered?

I am also left wondering whether the GOP, as these numbers suggest, hasn't turned inside into a regional party with little bang for the buck. Sure, they won to election cycles, but at the cost of the win apparently was to be turned into a regional party. Will they jettison this base to go toward the middle?

In another bit of religious news of interest to me was this:

"In some states, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, Democratic Senate candidates who intentionally tried to appeal to religious voters did succeed at winning back a significant percentage of Roman Catholics and white mainline Protestants."

I think of all the religious news of this race in terms of voters this is the most significant. Was it Webb who said that a coalition of African Americans and Irish Catholics could change races toward a permanent Democratic majority? It may not have been Webb- but the idea definitely seems to have some potential saliency. The point being that we need not pick up the crazy of craziest Christianist conservative. There are a plenty of more liberal Christians who maybe interested in what we have to say without turning the US into a theocracy.

Of all the victories to come out of Tuesday, this for me is the most significant. The Christo-conservatives have been tainting the well of open discourse for a while now making it impossible to shift the rest of the country strategically towards our side because they would only vote on hot button social conservative issues. It was assumed that with such a powerful voting block the GOP would become a permanent majority.

Chris Bowers was right. Before the election, as I remember, he said that there numbers would not be enough to sway the election. Apparently, that analysis is spot on.

Will this revelation fracture the Republican coalition further than it is right now? I think it might. If people realize they can't win by placating the crazies- then they will have to fight other routes than Dobson and co. This means, however, that the group troops and GOTV that Rove and company created maybe less effective in coming elections.

Tags: congressional races, religious right, Rove, Vote (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Re: 2006 Religious vote same for Republicans

The best-case scenario, for us, is that the Republicans' religious right base, the one group who remained loyal to them in this election, hijacks the party and turns it into a consistent minority for the next few election cycles.  If Sam Brownback runs for President in '08, he could excite the theocons as never before while scaring everyone who isn't a theocon into voting for his opponent.

by Alex 2006-11-09 12:21PM | 0 recs
interesting differences

these results differ from earlier reports based on exit poll data:

CNN's exit polls show a less pronounced shift. According to CNN, white evangelical Christians voted 29% Democrat (house race only) vs 21% for Kerry in 2004. Self-described evangelicals of all races (34% of respondants) voted 41% Democrat in 2006. Unfortunately, there's no corresponding data for 2004, so no word on what kind of change that represents.*

*the above quote and useful links on religious exit poll data are in the comments.

the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, with Democratic pick-up of a small portion of the white evangelical vote...

by jax 2006-11-09 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: interesting differences

the point of importance for us however is that even in significant force, they are beatable. that its not enough for the GOP to turn out its base.

by bruh21 2006-11-09 02:05PM | 0 recs

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