November 8, 2012

Religion and Voters in 2012

Mitt Romney

(Photo credit: Talking Points Memo)

By Mark Tooley

Whatever the reasons for Mitt Romney’s defeat and Barack Obama’s victory, it cannot be faulted on traditional religious voters, who seem to have voted in force.

As predicted in a pre-election Pew polls and elsewhere, traditional Catholics and evangelicals seem to have repeated their 2004 high water of support for the Republican presidential nominee. Exit polls showed that white evangelicals, who were 26 percent of total voters, rehashed their 2004 level of support for George W. Bush, supporting Romney by 79 percent to 21 percent. In 2004 white evangelicals were 23 percent of the electorate, sparking fears of impending theocracy by some on the Left.

Exit polling revealed Protestants and other Christians (including evangelicals and Mainline Protestants of all races plus presumably Eastern Orthodox), who made up 53 percent of the electorate, voted 42 percent for Obama and 57 percent for Romney. A poll more strictly confined to Protestants shows they favored Romney 62 to 37 percent. White Protestant and other Christians, comprising 39 percent of the total, favored Romney 69 to 30 percent. Weekly Protestant church attenders favored Romney 70 percent to 29 percent.

A pre-election Pew poll showed most Catholics supporting Romney. The exit poll showed Catholics, who were 25 percent of the electorate, voting 50 percent for Obama and 48 percent for Romney. But weekly mass attending Catholics supported Romney by 57 to 42 percent. And white Catholics, comprising 18 percent of the total, supported Romney by 59 to 40 percent, a greater percentage than their 2004 support for Bush. Weekly church-goers of all churches, who comprised 42 percent of the electorate, supported Romney by 59 to 39 percent.

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  • Gus Ravenwheel

    Your website seems to not allow my comments for some reason. If I change my info, it works, although it says “waiting moderation…”. This is Dan Trabue. Something going on there?

    Here was the comment I was trying to make…

    You cite the poll results that more frequent church attenders were more likely to vote Romney.

    I think one question that this might raise for more traditional churches (and all faith communities, really) is if there is a chicken or egg thing happening here. That is, is it the case that IF you attend traditional church regularly, you are more likely to vote for a GOP candidate, OR is it the case that IF your church pushes GOP values, you’re more likely to reduce how often you attend church?

    That is, is conservative/fundamentalist doctrine driving people away from churches in general?

    I don’t know the answer to that beyond anecdotally, but I attend a church that’s been called “The Church of the Last Chance.” We have been called that because we regularly get people who have gotten tired of the more fundamentalist teachings and harsh approach that traditional, conservative churches preach and they say “We’re just tired of the wrongly judgmental attitude, the ‘my way or the highway/either you’re for us or you’re against God’ kind of approach to church. We hear your church isn’t like that. We’ll give church one last try…” and then visit our church.

    At least in some parts of our nation, that is the attitude toward more fundamentalist/conservative churches and that might be something for these churches to at least consider.

    • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

      Dan. The links on this blog provide some insight into numbers of youth leaving:

      http://www.conversantlife.com/theology/how-many-youth-are-leaving-the-church

      I would hasten to add something. The churches that are being left behind, when confronted with these numbers, state that their children are abandoning Jesus Christ. I doubt that seriously. If you were to dig deeper in actual interviews with these kids, I bet you would find that they are actually abandoning the nutty and titally embarrassing Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical subculture—which is quite a different animal from Jesus himself. Kids are smart. They know that the culture of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism does not jibe with the things Jesus says and does in the New Testament. This is one reason I am fairly comfortable that these churches have only about one more generation before they are either utterly destroyed or are transformed into Jesus-honoring churches. Doomed I tell you. Doomed!!!!!

  • Paul Hoskins

    What’s wrong with evangelical doctrine “driving people away from churches”? It always has.

    We’re called to preach the gospel – raw – full-strength – biblically – no sugarcoating – no pandering. The gospel is what it is. Some people embrace it. Most people choose not to. It was a minority religion in AD 30. It is the same today. The church is called to be a “righeous remnant,” with higher standards than the world’s. If we lower our standards, we are not the true church. When we reach the point where our meddlesome government forces churches to ordain people with no moral standards, then Christians will have to start their own house churches, as some already have. A church with no morals has no attraction for me.

  • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

    Yeah. Right. The Christian faith is all about rules and moralism—and nothing else. You could hear that speech about Islam on any street corner in Baghdad, Tehran, or Mogadishu..

  • Ben Welliver

    American colleges have enough rules to fill up a phone book, something called “speech codes” that violate the First Amendment. They impose such rules because their beliefs are stupid and irrational, and in any debate they would lose. Having the mental development of 4th-graders, liberals can only shout and abuse someone who disagrees with them. Loud, immature, and self-righteous – the great liberal trinity.

    Liberals love rules – theirs – and love to impose them on the unwilling. They are the gold standard for hypocrisy and intolerance. If they had any honesty, integrity, and decency – which they notably lack – they would admit they love to exercise power over others. Psychologists, if they were not liberals themselves, would categorize liberals as sociopathic personalities, or what an earlier generation called someone without a conscience.

    • J P Logan

      And look what happens – they elect one of their own as president – twice. That doesn’t say much for democracy, that several million sociopathic personalities can impose their candidate on people who do have a conscience. Clinton hit what I thought was an all-time low in narcissism and immorality, but he was a second-stringer compared to BO.

      • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

        It appears to me that some people resent having a black man as President for another 4 years. When I look at all of the things the Religious Right loves and hugs close to its breast, I too can make that same lack of a conscience argument—and make it well.

        I am glad that Mr. Obama—a real Christian and quite likely a man after God’s own heart—will be our President for another 4 years. If Jesus had loved you guys so much and really thought that you were the “righteous remnant” that you have deluded yourselves into thinking that you are, then why did He not swoop in and deliver the election to Romney, you, and all of your fundie friends? Instead, it appears that you were screwed over for the fourth time out of five since 2006.

        By the way, God came to me personally well over a year ago when no one—and I mean no one— thought Obama could get re-elected as dogcatcher. The Holy Spirit told me that He was angry at you people, that He was going to tease you along into spreading yourselves like a green bay tree (in your own minds), and then jerk the rug right out from under all of you at election time as punishment. Even I was amazed that the prophecy came true. The prophecy did come to me and it did come true. Obama won both the popular vote and an electoral landslide—including Virginia and Florida—-again. Just when you thought that you had beaten Mr. Obama to pulp with your hatred and racism—reduced him to nothing of consequence—slandered him in all manner of evil ways—and set your sights on destroying old people, lame people, sick people, hungry people, homeless people, and a long list of other people you fundies despise, Jesus stepped in and plunged your swords into your own hearts. Now, you have to live carbon-paper man for another 4 years.

        When are you people going to wake up to the fact that the red letters in the New Testament are not optional or just suggestions?

      • Eric Lytle

        J P, another factor is that he has that smug self-righteousness that all liberals have. They look at him and see this really hip smart guy (which means they didn’t look close) who says all the right cliches, “compassion,” “caring,” “fairness,” etc. There is nothing caring or compassionate about him, or them, but the “act” pleases them, just like a guy at the VFW hall has to drop in the name George Washington because the audience expects it. He is a total hypocrite, but that appeals to liberals – they see him as another version of themselves, fooling the gullible into thinking they really are caring and compassionate. It’s like they’re always winking at other liberals, like “Can you believe these morons are falling for this?” When will people wake up and realize that there is nothing compassionate about taking money from people who work and give it to people who don’t work? When an individual does that, they throw him in jail. When a president does it, they say he’s “caring.” It’s a warped view of reality.

  • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

    After Bill Welliver’s tirade, which I can well understand after the recent national election results, I am trying to figure out something that has been a mystery to me for a long time. Historically, I have seen two different message lines coming out of Christian fundamentalist churches, conservative evangelical churches, and the Religious Right:

    On the one hand:

    1) I hear a littany of whines about how religious conservatives are a weak and vastly outnumbered American minority faction that is being coldly and heartlessly beaten to a bloody pulp and having his lunch money perpetually stolen by a vast faction of evildoers (usually anyone who disagrees with them)—and that they are so misunderstood and so pitiful that they may draw their last breath any second if someone—usually a government entity or money bags donor—does not reach in and rescue them. This is often heard when things are not going well for the cause or funds are being sought from assorted religious rhubarbs down on the farm.

    Then again on the other hand:

    2) I hear a totally opposite message that the parties in question are a vast and overwhelming army that stretches from sea to shining sea, is monumentally organized, has vast wealth at its disposal, possesses its own news media, has seats in the innermost circles of party politics and government, possesses great earthly power, has its own private phone line to heaven, and is only moments away from “taking back America” and vanquishing the enemies of God—which are usually anyone who disagrees with them. When they are talking and “acting out” this message on the public stage, it sounds something like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of8f7Kj1yiE

    The question then:

    Which one of these are you people in reality?

  • http://contextintn.wordpress.com/ dover1952

    This is the kind of Wal-Mart dress and suit nonsense the kids want to escape from:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9RsrMnrTZE

    They want to run away from this and run to Jesus:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YXINEYdnkY&feature=fvwrel

    • Paul Hoskins

      How touching. I’m all choked up.

      Deep theology. Move over, John Calvin. If only he’d had earbuds.

      State-of-the-art videography too.

      I’m running to the closet and throwing away all my suits.

      • Alex P

        LOL. It says clearly in the Bible that “white men who wear suits cannot be Christians.” I can’t remember the chapter and verse exactly. It’s near the same verse that says “airheads who write their theology on index cards with a felt-tip pen are sure to be saved.” And the one that says “judge people by what they wear.”

        This blog is SO educational.

      • Ben Welliver

        I watched about a minute of this video of the mute woman with the sour face. Not sure I got the point. Is she supposed to be the Poor Victimized Woman, whose voice has been silenced by the Evil Patriarchal Church? Not sure I’d want to share a pew with someone that bitter. Maybe she’ll find some nice liberal church where they’ve gelded all the hymns, a church where the men are all low-testosterone.