Saturday, October 02, 2004

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sects 

Since it's Sunday -- well, actually it's Saturday, but we are reliably informed that there is a Sunday scheduled for sometime later in the week -- our thoughts turn reluctantly to issues of faith, and so we are grudgingly pleased to bring you (through the kind agency of our distinguished colleague Nick Lewis at Net Politik) a useful analysis by John Green and Steven Waldman of BeliefNet entitled "The Twelve Tribes of American Politics: The Religious Groups That Comprise the U.S. Electorate." You will see all twelve voting blocs represented in the chart below:

From the article:
Judging from the amount of press coverage they get, you'd think the only religious groups in American politics were the religious right - and everyone else. In fact, a shrewd candidate needs to understand the idiocyncrasies and hot buttons of all Twelve Tribes of American Politics.

Unlike the more famous Twelve Tribes of Israel, these groups can all be located. Using data from the Pew Religion Forum (see full study) and the Ray K Bliss Institute at University of Akron, Beliefnet has defined the religious groupings that make up our political landscape. The surveys were conducted in May 2004 and so show longterm trends rather than present day horse race preferences.

The biggest finding: The Religious Right and the Religious Left are almost exactly the same size. The former has had a much greater impact for the past 25 years largely because of superior organization and drive.
A couple of interesting tidbits: the writers believe that "Convertible Catholics," who are heavily represented in the battleground states, "could decide the election. So far no sign of tribal loyalty for their co-religionist Kerry. They dislike Bush's bias toward the rich but so far think he's the better man to lead the war on terror. Ripe for Kerry if he can make the case on Iraq."

And non-religious voters, or "Seculars," could give Kerry "a lock on the electoral votes of the mega-states of California, New York, and Illinois. The secular [vote] could make the difference in Oregon and Washington as well as New Hampshire and Nevada." Posted by Hello

UPDATE (via Kevin Drum): Amy Sullivan wonders why our aggressively religious President can't be bothered to go to church:
If time and security aren't the reasons, what excuse does that leave? The very fact that the president doesn't attend church, some leading conservatives insist, is proof of what a good Christian he is. Unlike certain past presidents they could name but won't--ahem, cough, Bill Clinton--Bush doesn't feel the need to prove his religiosity. "This president has not made an issue of where he goes to church," says Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. "I find it refreshing that we don't have a president coming out of church with a large Bible under his arm." Conservatives relish this opportunity for a little gratuitous Clinton-bashing. In private, however, they admit the explanation doesn't hold up. "I really don't get it," one prominent Bush partisan told me. "There's no reason why the president couldn't find a church around here if he wanted to."

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