Religion and Democratic Mix by Brad Chism

By at August 4, 2014 | 11:25 am | Print

Religion and Democratic Mix by Brad Chism

Brad Chism

Last week we introduced The Pew Trust’s 2014 Political Typology report and three left-leaning types that account for many of Democrats’ electoral targets this fall.  This week we discuss religion and how the Hard-Pressed Skeptics, the Next Generation Left, and the Faith and Family Democrats compare and contrast with Solid Liberals.

The Faith and Family Democrats (about 12% of the electorate) are almost the polar opposite than the Next Generation Left(about 13% of the electorate) when it comes to the whether a belief in God is a precondition of being moral and having good values. The Faith and Family Democrats group is more strident on this point than the most reliably conservative Republicans.

There is also a wide gap between the Faith and Family Democrats and the New Generation Left on the issue of the Bible as the word of God. The pattern holds for the question on whether the Bible is to be taken literally, word for word. The Hard Pressed Skeptics are somewhere between the two groups on these issues, but closer to the Faith and Family Democrats.

On the issue of evolution, again the Next Generation Leftis much like the Solid Liberal base whereas the Faith and Family Democratsand the Hard-Pressed Skeptics look a lot like the most conservative Republicans on this issue.

Progressives are unlikely to face these particular issues head on this fall — Speaker Boehner has not scheduled a vote to confirm Jonah’s time in the belly of the whale…at least not yet.

Still, Democratic consultants and campaign professionals would be wise to remember these potential flashpoints within our coalition and choose our “values laden” words very carefully.

Finally, we recall a 2013 study and offer another insight. Last year we wrote about research explaining that much of the extreme response to polling questions is partisan cheerleading rather than firmly held beliefs (Most right wingers don’t really believe the President was born in Kenya). By the same token, it could be that a potential Democratic voter’s response that “the world was indeed created in six days…” reflects a deep faith-based view of the world rather than a wholesale rejection of modern science. We secular politicos would be better served in 2014, meeting that voter on their terms, framing our messaging with words that resonate, given their values set.

The polls confirm there is no room for hubris in these mid terms.

You can read the Pew Study in its entirety at 2014 Political Typology.

Brad Chism, Founder, Chism Strategies;  a direct voter contact consultancy integrating telephone contact programs with campaign messaging for Democratic candidates and progressive groups.  

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