For Religious Voters, Risk Is Good Like God
Republicans Target Believers’ Sensibilities – and Not Just Through Social Issues
Does confidence matter? You betcha. Those who met Baylor’s profile as non-worriers were more than twice as likely as worriers to attend religious services weekly, read the Bible weekly and consider themselves very religious.
This doesn’t necessarily mean religiousness dispels worry. It might be that non-worriers are also extroverts who enjoy all the socializing that comes with faith activities.
But it does tell us the observant aren’t as prone as are the lapsed or the skeptical to feel worried, tense or anxious for more than 10 days in the past month (Baylor’s definition of a worrier). It would follow that one who doesn’t worry much about the future also isn’t eager for government to intervene and help stave off worst case scenarios.
Believers have as much, if not more, reason to worry as those of little faith. Among those who strongly agreed that “God has a plan for me,” only 17 percent earn upwards of $100,000. Just 33 percent of them have a college degree. Yet they were far more likely (53 percent) to say “the government does too much” than were those who strongly disagree with the notion that “God has a plan for me” (21 percent).
Emerging is a portrait of a worldview shared by millions of Americans whom the GOP is actively courting. They believe it’s good to trust God by taking risks for worthy causes. This might involve joining the military, having a child instead of an abortion, or starting a business on a shoestring. It certainly doesn’t involve collecting unemployment checks if you’re able-bodied, at least according to 53 percent of those who strongly agree that “God has a plan for me.” (Those who are less certain of God’s plan for them are also proportionally more open to government-issued unemployment checks for the able-bodied).
These values are well-known to the GOP. Republicans have long held sway as God’s Old Party, but they’ve made further inroads since 2008, according to Pew surveys of 15,000 registered voters in 2011. The largest gains of the past three years, in terms of percent who say they identify or lean GOP, came among people of faith: Mormons, Jews, white Catholics and mainline Protestants. Now 70 percent of evangelicals lean Republican, as do 80 percent of Mormons. Meanwhile 71 percent of atheists lean Democratic, as do 61 percent of the religiously unaffiliated.
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