Monday, July 20, 2015

An Hypothesis on the Secular Vote in 2016

by Gary Berg-Cross

Bill Scher, the Online Campaign Manager at Campaign for America's Future, (and the executive editor of, often blogs about the problems that the Republican Party & Conservative Pols face. Recent ones include "Why Republicans Can’t Stop The Iran Deal (And Shouldn’t Want To) and "Republicans On Track To Lose The Latino Vote, And The Election, Again." But the most recent one (JULY 20, 2015) to catch my eye was, "Republicans Can’t Win Without Solving Their ‘Secular Problem. ’

The idea is simple, the highly religious and fundamentalist vote is maxed out.  The less religious and nones are growing and up, like the Latino vote, for being grabbed.

Scher points out some trends starting with an 2006 exit poll data that showed that:
'Democrats crushed Republican among voters who went to church “a few times a year” (60-38 percent) and “never” (67-30 percent), while the Republican margin among those who attended church “weekly” was slashed from 16 points in the previous midterm to seven."
'…In 2008, Sen. John McCain received 39 percent support of voters who seldom attend religious services, and 30 percent from those who never go. Both numbers represent a 6-point drop from what Bush received in 2004…
…Obama received 43 percent of the vote from voters who attend religious services weekly or more than weekly. For Kerry, those numbers were 41 percent and 35 percent…'
The idea here, which jives with the type of things we see among the current crop of GOP candidates  is that conservatives are aiming at keeping their Evangelical base.  The battle is for the more casual religious.

Scher reports that in 2012 an openly religious Obama did no better than Kerry among the  42 percent of voters who said they were regular worshipers. (The secular vote is also about 42%) Although a very religious Mitt did worse than Bush's 2004 results among the 57 percent who "never went to services or who went irregularly."

President Obama carried Religiously Unaffiliated voters 70% to Mitt Romney’s 26% according to a report from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life exit poll data of the 2012 election. Although the President’s percentage was lower than in 2008, it still continued a trend of the nones supporting the Democratic candidates. The exit poll numbers were larger than a similar election poll in September when the President held a 65 to 27 lead on Romney. (from  President Obama Wins A Landslide From The Religiously Unaffiliated)

So 2016 shapes up in this view to having a new swing vote group he call the Secular. Candidates need to speak to them on secular topics. Renouncing “religious freedom” laws
that would permit discrimination is one he sites along with women's freedom to choose. Supporting equal rights for the LGBT community is obviously one that appeals to young seculars in particular based on their experience.  Even if they are not persuaded by a liberal candidate they find offense in how a socially conservative candidate  panders to the Conservative base on these and other Judeo-Christian inspired topics that do not respect the separation of Church and State. 

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