Saturday, November 06, 2004

The "Moral Majority" Did Not Defeat Kerry

So it was NOT a groundswell of right wing hyper moralists who won the election for George W. Bush after all. In today's (Saturday's) NY Times, David Brooks shares some interesting facts and observations about just who voted on Tuesday:

"Here are the facts. As Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center [the winner, by the way, of the most accurate pre-election polling prediction] points out, there was no disproportionate surge in the evangelical vote this year. Evangelicals made up the same share of the electorate this year as they did in 2000. There was no increase in the percentage of voters who are pro-life. Sixteen percent of voters said abortions should be illegal in all circumstances. There was no increase in the percentage of voters who say they pray daily....

"Much of the misinterpretation of this election derives from a poorly worded question in the exit polls. When asked about the issue that most influenced their vote, voters were given the option of saying "moral values." But that phrase can mean anything - or nothing. Who doesn't vote on moral values? If you ask an inept question, you get a misleading result.

"The reality is that this was a broad victory for the president. Bush did better this year than he did in 2000 in 45 out of the 50 states. He did better in New York, Connecticut and, amazingly, Massachusetts. That's hardly the Bible Belt. Bush, on the other hand, did not gain significantly in the 11 states with gay marriage referendums...

"What we are seeing is a diverse but stable Republican coalition gradually eclipsing a diverse and stable Democratic coalition. Social issues are important, but they don't come close to telling the whole story. Some of the liberal reaction reminds me of a phrase I came across recently: The rage of the drowning man."
Don't, then, believe the lie that it was a bunch of homophobic, moral majority types that came out in droves to defeat Kerry. Kerry defeated Kerry with his waffling, his aristocratic Northeastern style, his record and where he stood on the issues in general. Period.

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