Thursday, March 16, 2006

Respected Pew Forum Analysis of Election Returns Offers Interesting Demographic Insights

How did religious people vote in the last presidential election? That question was answered by the respected Pew Forum in their Fourth National Survey on Religion and Politics. The following excerpts from an analysis of the poll findings come from the Institute on Religion and Democracy Fall 2005 issue of Faith and Freedom

Across the board, theologically liberal Protestants and Catholics favored Kerry. Theological conservatives strongly favored Bush. Most Latino Protestants voted Republican for the first time in 2004, accounting for most of the movement toward Bush in the general Hispanic community. As more Latinos join evangelical and Pentecostal churches, this trend may favor future Republican candidates . . .

Hispanic Catholics and black Protestants went heavily for Kerry, although by slightly smaller margins than Al Gore enjoyed in 2000. Meanwhile, secular Americans were strongly committed to Kerry.

Bush’s largest religious constituency was conservative evangelicals. They comprised 27 percent of his voters. When moderate and liberal evangelicals were included, 40 percent of Bush’s support came from evangelicals. Seventy-eight percent of all evangelical voters supported Bush.

Kerry’s largest religious constituency was black Protestants, 83 percent of whom supported him. They made up 13 percent of his total voters. Seculars made up 10 percent of Kerry’ voters. Eighty-two percent of atheists and agnostics supported
Kerry, and 70 percent of seculars voted for the Democratic candidate. Mainline Protestants comprised 19 percent of Bush’ supporters. Roman Catholics were a similar percentage of Bush voters. Persons of faiths other than Christianity and Judaism comprised two percent of the electorate and strongly supported Kerry . . .

The survey found that mainline Protestants comprised 20 percent of the voting electorate. Traditionalist mainliners favored Bush by 68 percent to 32 percent. Among centrist mainliners, it was 58 percent for Bush. Modernist mainliners preferred Kerry by 78 percent to 22 percent. The churchgoing mainliners tend
to be more conservative theologically and also more inclined to vote Republican. Fifty-nine percent of traditionalist mainliners said they attend church regularly and 33 percent said often. By contrast, only 19 percent of modernist mainliners said they attend church regularly, while 35 percent rarely attend . . .

The Pew Forum’ analysis concluded that Bush “epended heavily”on conservative Protestants, which included Latino Protestants. Meanwhile, Kerry had a “ore diverse”coalition of minority faiths, seculars, and liberal Christians. The analysis speculated that the more religiously “homogeneous” Republican
coalition was “probably easier to mobilize” than the Democratic religious constituencies.

We should be grateful to the Pew Forum for providing such interesting and informative breakdowns of voting patterns. So often message boards and blogs make sweeping statements about how "such and such" a group thinks. The Pew Forum offers up the closest thing to hard data for interpretation and analysis purposes from a reliable source.


roy said...

interesting stuff... there was a recent article in the Washington Monthly that talks about the erosion of the conservative religious base in the Republican party.
In the article, Amy Sullivan argues that the fact that Bush was able to skim off an additional 4% of African American Christian voters during the last election allowed him to win. She theorizes that if the Democrats are able to skim off an additional 4% of the evangelical vote in the next election, which she thinks they will, the Democrats would win.

Dennis E. McFadden said...


I think that you are absolutely correct in your analysis.

Thanks for reading and commenting.