October 2, 2010

AS THE UR TURNS OUT NOT TO BELIEVE ANYTHING:

Religion & the 2010 Midterms - Swing Groups Trending Republican? (Gary Andres, 10/02/10, RCP)

Today, we find evangelical Protestants as the core religious group supporting the Republican Party, joined by their Mormon allies, while a heterogeneous coalition of highly religious blacks and Hispanics, Jews, and an increasingly vocal group of seculars make up the Democrat camp. White Catholics and mainline Protestants are now the swing groups-with many of the former abandoning their close ties with Democrats and with numerous of the latter doing the same with the GOP. Denominational affiliation still matters, but beliefs and practices are more important, particularly for three of the largest religious groups: white evangelical and mainline Protestants and Anglo-Catholics.

How will this religious alignment impact the 2010 midterm elections? I recently helped conduct a poll for Resurgent Republic that provides some insights into these religious groups' performance this fall.

The survey suggests that swing Catholic and Protestant voters are trending toward the Republicans, especially compared to 2006 and 2008 - a shift that could help the GOP win a number of closely contested House and Senate seats.

For example, among those who attend church more than once a week the GOP lead by 27 points on the ballot test (16 points among those who attend once a week). According to 2008 House exit polls, Republicans won "more than once a week" church attendees in 2008, but by a much narrower 6-point margin. Democrats lead on the generic ballot by 36 points among those who never attend church.

In addition, we found solid opportunities for the GOP with Catholics generally, and in particular with regular church attendees. While Republicans lost among Catholics in 2006 by 11-points and 13-points in 2008, they now hold a 7-point lead (39%-32%) among Catholics in general. Republicans also lead among Catholics who attend church once a week or more by 12 points.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 2, 2010 6:26 PM
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