Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Running on Polls or Walking by Faith?

Although the media seem intent on downplaying the influence of social conservatives in the upcoming election, a recent poll by Fabrizio McLaughlin Associates points to just how misled those assumptions are. The study, "An Elephant Looks in the Mirror 10 Years Later," discussions the transformation of the Republican Party in the last 10 years and makes the statistical case that not only do values issues play a key role in the GOP platform, but values voters make up 51% of the party. Twenty-seven percent, by their classification, are "focused" on moral issues--and another 24%, the "Moralists," have a "laser-like focus" on moral issues. The reality is, a majority of the GOP are values voters. For candidates to ignore these social issues is for them to ignore the single-largest group in the Republican Party. They do so at their own risk. The reason Rudy Giuliani (R) continues to do well in polling data is that most Americans don't know where he stands on these issues. However, where voters perceive him to stand in his faith is another survey altogether. The Pew Forum's latest poll found that the statistical front-runners in both parties, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Rudy Giuliani (R), are both considered the "least religious" by those surveyed. On the other hand, Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is considered "very religious" by 46%, followed by Sen. John McCain (R) at 18%. Interestingly, the poll didn't account for all candidates, which excludes those whom many would view as the most religious, including Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R). In the end, though, most voters would agree that how important the candidates' faith seems to be isn't half as important as how closely they live by it.

Additional Resources
- The Elephant Looks in the Mirror (Fabrizio McLaughlin Associates study)
Voters steer through religious faith of candidates