The Twelve Tribes of American Politics in the 2008 Election

Understanding the twelve religious voting blocs in America may be key to unlocking the 2008 election.


Who are they:

Conservative Catholics and conservative mainline Protestants, Latter-day Saints, and other smaller groups. Less orthodox than the Religious Right (37% are biblical literalists) and more theologically diverse. But they are regular churchgoers (Nearly 80% report attending worship service weekly or more often).


mitt romney
  • Summer 2004: Conservative: 50%, Moderate: 41%, Liberal: 10%.
  • Summer 2008: Conservative: 53%, Moderate: 39%, Liberal: 8%
  • Summer 2004: Republican: 54%, Independent: 29%, Democratic: 17%.
  • Summer 2008: Republican: 56%, Independent: 13%, Democratic: 31%

Candidate Preference:
  • November 2004: Bush: 72%, Kerry: 28%.
  • Summer 2008: McCain: 56%, Obama: 25%, undecided: 19%
Political trend:



Stable in size, this group is steadily becoming more Republican. 72% voted for Bush, making up 20% of his total vote. Many appear to be waiting for the Arizona senator to close the deal; one in five is undecided.

What they care about:

Like the Religious Right, conservative on social issues--75% are pro-life, a significant uptick from four years ago. 65% back traditional marriage, something of a drop from ’04. . But half as many say social issues are most important as said so in 2004. They support churches being active in politics, but not by the overwhelming majority that Christian Right members do. And more than half supporting environmental regulations, even if it means higher prices and job losses.

Percent of voting-age population:
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John Green, Dan Gilgoff and Steven Waldman
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What Group Do You Belong To
Which group do you belong to?
Black Protestants
Convertible Catholics
Heartland Culture Warriors
Jews, Muslims, or Other
Moderate Evangelicals
Spiritual but not Religious/

The "Religious Left"
The "Religious Right"
White Bread Protestants
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