It wasn't about religion

That’s what Alan says, at any rate. Jeff Lackey’s musings that it’s not-that-religious working class defections on culture look right…

The idea that this election was decided by religious extremists and those who fear the thought of two guys kissing is just wrong. The pundits/ media are trying to explain what for them is inexplicable, that over half the country voted for Bush. The best they can come up with is some that an evil genius (Rove) somehow conjured up a legion of Stepford voters.

While those folks exist, and they may well have been the margin in some areas, they’re not the bulk of Bush’s supporters. For every idiot who thinks Saddam planned out 9/11, you can probably find several people who simply don’t trust Kerry to lead the country, who dislike the redistributionist philosophy of his party, or who think that, regardless of how we got into Iraq, Bush’s team is more likely to stick with it until we have a successful result. I also think we saw a backlash against some of the far left’s vitriol toward Bush, thinking it just went too far.

You can disagree with all of those ideas, but they’re at least ones rational people can hold. It’s not all, “Martha, if we vote for that feller from Boston, we’ll have satanists oilin’ up fer homersexual orgies right on Main Street!”

Religion played a role, I believe, but culture in terms of the right wing talk radio-driven back lash at perceived liberal “elitism” played a bigger role. Also, the issues we expected DID play a role (Iraq, terrorism) but the surprise factor was culture (which is partially overlapping with but not entirely congruent with religion). To some degree I am now beginning to think that 2004 is a reflection of 1994 showing the impact of talk radio and conservative blogs. Culture is not the same thing as religion in this context, although there is some overlap.

I’ll have more to say on this later.


I’m sticking with “culture issues resulted in big GOP turnout gains, albeit not with evangelicals.”

To be really counterintuitive, this ABC pollster says the moral values item is misleading:

So if it wasn’t moral values, what did Bush win the election on? His tiny-ass margins on Iraq and terrorism outweighing the beating he took on the economy?

David Brooks has a similar take on it in today’s NYT:

Note that this isn’t an endorsement of every point Brooks makes. I’m just helping document the seismic shift in Destino 2004 (spent election night tuned to Telemundo) common wisdom that appears to be taking place this weekend.

Yeah, I don’t see how “Bush won the nation on terrorism” squares with “he lost independents by 1 point.”

His analysis deals with Bush’s gains over the last 4 years, not his overall sources of support. Where does he demonstrate that evangelicals are not a critical source of votes for Bush?

That Bush’s gains in the last 4 years haven’t come from evangelicals I can believe (he had most of them to start with), but they are still a critical part of his base.

Also “morals” doesn’t just mean gay marriage. I’m sure a significant portion have pro-life as their “one issue” vote of morals going to Bush as well.

If so, how do you explain away the impact of the voter-registration drives held by churches to get out the anti-gay marriage vote? Sure, a lot of people voted for Bush for what they believed were sensible reasons, but I’m willing to bet that the margin of victory came from people motivated by fear, or by the fact they thought God was voting Republican.

Can’t it just be as simple as “Everyone was divided on terrorism/Iraq”, most everyone saw it as a critical factor, and the cultural/economy first/oppresion fighters on the left were countered by the stronger turnout of their inverse on the right?

Remember when you look at percentages that if they stay the same, that actually represents a substantial growth in absolute voters. I sure got the feeling going into things that Kerry wasn’t going to win on having won a majority of all the people who voted last time, but being able to hold his own on those and adding all the new people who were anti-war, pro-economy, anti-fundamentalist they expected to turn out this time. And they did. But so did 4+ million previously non-voting fundamentalists. Skew Kerry down by a point, bush up by a point, take into account the new turnout, and 3 million votes isn’t hard to come by.

(This is also the reason that a 3 million vote “mandate” is utterly ludicrous, IMO)

Mind you, I’m way too fried on this to have been poring over the figures, so maybe I missed something somewhere.

You haven’t seen me in the facism theads because I think it’s way too soon to jump to those kinds of conclusions. However, I suspect Bush’s evangelical and often borderline messianic language in his public addresses and the well-known displays at his rallies of folks praising him as ‘God’s man in the White House’ mighta put me on notice there was one community with a special relationship here. Sure, he’d mangle out some Spanish and pander here and there but when it came time to address the nation after major crises or victorys in his crusade on terror, it was the blunt cant of the fundamentalists on his lips. I think I’ve linked to some articles elsewhere analysing exactly what the subtexts are to those who’d best recognise the references. And Bush’s history as his fathers in-house expert and liason to the Christian conservatives, as a born-again himself, explains this in some measure. The defeat of his father is often ascribed to the religious right’s abandonment of him. Rove would never let that happen again.

But, you know what, I could be wrong about the religious right being especially targeted and favored by this administration. I’ll bet we don’t have anything to worry about. No crazy right wing judges will get past this congress. No constitutional amendments either. Right?

In four years I’ll dig up this thread as a time capsule. With luck they still won’t know where the “internets” are and figured out how to shut the sinful bastards down. Maybe I’ll eat some humblepie. And that’d be the best possible outcome but one I wouldn’t bank on.

Now is their time, just as you hear them crowing about it, and the Republicans have to use it or lose it - and lost it they did before. They ain’t going to make that mistake again.

Well, the one really really big number I see that won the election - the GOP party share went from 45% of the votes cast last time to 47% this time.

2000 electorate breakdown of party id - 39D/35R/27I - 101.3 million voters - 38.5 million/34.5 million/27.5 million.
2004 electorate breakdown of party id - 37D/37R/26I - 115.5 million voters - 42.5 million/42.5 million/30 million.

Looks like “the Democrats upped their turnout, but the Republicans upped theirs even more.” Bush’s overall share of Democratic id voters stayed the same, 11%. His share of independents went up 1 point - he only lost them by 1 point nationwide this time, for a net vote gain of 300,000. His share of Republicans went up 2 points - gain of 850,000 votes.

And he won by 3.5 million - which is an improvement of 4 million over his 500,000 loss last time - so that’s 3 million votes he gained just by GOP turnout. The party identification percentages stayed the same between 2000 & 2004 - and the Democrats actually outran the GOP in new registrations - so Bush won through GOP turnout. Only question is what got them to the polls.

I thought the Democratic turnout operation was mind-blowingly good - but good god, we only got 4 million new ones out there. Bush managed double that.

That is interesting, Brian - Bush didn’t really go after the Latino vote much this time.

Ah, didn’t see that. I just didn’t notice much in the way of direct pres candidate outreach to them to that.

The democrats registered a lot of new, young voters. Expecting college kids to go vote is like waiting for Lucy to finally let you kick the darn ball.