1) Standard Issue Punditry: "The key to the election is the fundamentalist Christians"
Cooler Punditry: "Well, actually, you probably mean evangelicals. While evangelicals or 'born agains' make up 30-40% of the electorate, fundamentalists are only a small subset of that group.
2) Standard Issue Punditry: "Karl Rove said evangelical turnout was lackluster last time and has targeted 4 million evangelicals who didn't vote."
Cooler Punditry: "Actually evangelical turnout was 56% in 2000 compared to the national average of 51%. To get an extra 4 million evangelical votes, they're going to produce a phenomenal turnout."
3) Standard Issue Punditry: "There's a huge God gap this year--Republicans are religious; Democrats are secular."
Cooler Punditry: "Actually, there's not a God gap but a church-attendance gap, and it's most noticeable at the extremes. People who attend church weekly tend to vote Republican and those who don't attend at all vote Democrat. But those who attend once or twice a month--the largest group--are split right down the middle."
4) Standard Issue Punditry: "The attacks on John Kerry from the Catholic bishops have been devastating."
Cooler Punditry: "Actually, there's evidence that the bishops' criticisms have helped Kerry, in part by pointing out to people that he's Catholic, but also by generating sympathy. A narrow majority of Catholics are pro-choice."
5) Standard Issue Punditry: "Catholics should be important in the Northeast industrial states but not really anywhere else."
Cooler Punditry: The Catholic population is also above 20% in: Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio.
6) Standard Issue Punditry: "Loyal Democrats are mightily irked by Bush's constant use of religious rhetoric."
Cooler Punditry: "Most people think Bush's religious rhetoric is fine--and African Americans, among the most loyal Democrats, say they'd like to hear more of it."
7) Standard Issue Punditry: "There really aren't enough Muslims in America to matter."
Cooler Punditry: "That's true, except for two significant swing states: Michigan and Ohio."
8) Standard Issue Punditry: "The biggest religious group in Florida is Jews. They could decide the election."
Cooler Punditry: "Actually, they only make up about 4 percent of the population in Florida. They're far outnumbered by Catholics, evangelicals and mainline Protestants."
9) Standard Issue Punditry: "The religious group that is the most solidly pro-Bush is evangelical Christians."
Cooler Punditry: "Actually, the most pro-Bush group is Mormons. Evangelicals tend to support Bush but a large group of centrists, known as 'freestyle evangelicals,' have gone Democratic in the past."
10) Standard Issue Punditry: "Evangelical Christians view gay marriage as their number-one issue."
Cooler Punditry: "Actually, 29% of evangelicals said cultural issues like gay marriage and abortion were most important to them. But 30% said foreign policy and 35% said economic and welfare issues."
Bonus Bon Mot: "It could come down the Amish." (Bush has targeted the Amish in Pennsyvlania and Ohio, many of whom had felt prohibited from voting by their faith. They got dispensation and are leaning to Bush.)