Poll: More Religious Means More Republican

Democrats are scrambling to follow suit—so who speaks for the non-believers?

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

This falls into the "duh" category. Of course I'm being a mite more than slightly facetious, but do we really need a Gallup Poll to tell us that religiosity drives people's partisan choices?

The percentage of Americans who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party drops from 49% among the highly religious to 26% among those who are not religious. The percentage who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party rises from 37% among the highly religious to 56% among those who are not religious. For comparison, the party figures for November among all adults in these data are 40% Republicans/Republican leaners and 45% Democrats/Democratic leaners.

I remember an ancient formation of the Republican Party that included people who didn't try to write their religious beliefs into federal law. They were known as moderate Republicans. They were a powerful force in American politics long ago and far away. They may have been pro-choice or pro-life but they didn't try to force other Americans to join their jihad by mixing church and state.

Now the role of religious neutrality is left to Democrats. And by pushing people of no or lesser faith out of the Big Republican Tent, the GOP is looking more and more like a Revival tent.

Democrats, too, in trying to woo moderates and conservatives into their party, are catering to religiously-driven partisans in new way. Hence, 64 conservative House Democrats were recently able to press their anti-abortion Stupak-Pitts amendment into the House version of health care reform.

The pendulum is at the point where neither party caters to the politics of the non-religiously driven voter. Are we at the point where the pendulum is about to reverse direction? Let's hope so.