This analysis of the internal numbers out of the latest Gallup poll provides a very clear sense of why so many Republicans are shaking in their boots waiting the results of the November election. Gallup divided respondents into “white frequent churchgoers”, “white infrequent churchgoers” and “all others.”
Here we what are perhaps the two major cleavages in contemporary American politics — religion and race. And we’re looking at them through a rightward prism.
Whites tend to vote Republican as a group, if by not that great a margin. And strong religious identification/church attendance is a very strong indicator of Republican party affiliation. So “white frequent churchgoers” should be — and through most of my adult life — have been the sweet spot of the electorate for the Republican party.
Yet, according to this latest Gallup survey, Republicans are only coming in even with this group. If that number is even close to on the mark and remains so for the next four weeks you can be next to certain that the Democrats will blow the Republicans out in the House and very likely win back control of the senate too.
You see this in this graph. Anything above the dotted line is the margin of Democratic advantage. So in August infrequent churchgoing whites were favoring the Democrats by 12 points. Now they do so by 26 points.
As I think I’ve made clear a number of times in recent weeks I am very much in the ‘believe it when I see it’ campaign when it comes to November. But this is the core of the modern Republican party. And they can only split the votes evenly with Democrats in this core group, election day will really be a disaster.
The only thing this break down leaves me wanting to know more of is a denominational breakdown. I’d be particularly curious to see the breakdown between churchgoing Catholics and evangelicals.
Here’s another look at the same process. Over at TPM Election Central, Matt Corley looked at two of the most watch election rating sites, CQ Politics and the Cook Political Report.
He found that over the two week period since Foleygate blew up on September 29th, no few than 30 House races had their ratings changed. And 29 of those were moves favoring the Democrats.
That is a sign both of tremendous flux and a decisive movement in one direction.
Next up, is it really all Foley?