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View Diary: Why the "morals vote" didn't cost us the election. (281 comments)

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  •  weighing "values" vs other issues (none)
    Most of the discussions of "values" voters have taken place in a vacuum--they need to take place in the context of other issues, and esp. those that mobilize the Dem base.

    If you look at the exit polls, voters who ranked morals as their #1 concern were roughly equalled by those who ranked jobs/economy as their #1 issue.  Bush got 80% of the former; Kerry 80% of the latter (he also got roughly 80% of those who ranked health are #1).

    So what this looks like is not a conservative tidal wave but 2 partisans bases, of roughly similar proportions.

    Where Kerry lost was in the middle--among those who didn't rank those core party ID questions as the most important issues in the election.  And the paramount issues there were the Iraq war and terrorism.
        - 15 percent of those polled ranked Iraq their number one issue, and Kerry won those folks, 73% to 26%.
        - a slightly higher percentage--19%--ranked terrorism the #1 issue, and Bush ran even more strongly among them--86% to 14%.

    So what conclusions to draw?
        If Dems lost this election, narrowly, over Iraq and the War on Terror, then it shouldn't be the occasion for a major re-think of the party's position on guns, god, and gays.  This is true in part, sadly, because many Democratic leaders have already caved on those issues ("marriage is between one man and one woman," anyone?)--a point that seems to get lost by those trumpeting gay marriage bans as "Republican" victories.
        Iraq is not likely to be an issue in the next Presidential election, at least not comparable to this year.  The War on Terror is likely to fade as well but will surely endure longer.  Here Dems need to be guided by the example of the Cold War.  It was generally a stronger Republican than Democratic issue, but plenty of Dems found a way to take a strong stance.  And in any event, the Cold War didn't decide every election from 1948-88.

    •  Thanks for this perspective. (none)
      You've always got something good to add, don't you?

      In any case, I guess where I'm coming from is that even if it's all BS that evangelicals won the election--and I have my doubts too--it's high time we liberal Christians stopped their progressively growing influence in the elections.

    •  "If you look at the exit polls ..." (none)
      Yes, but if you look at the exit polls, we won the election, so let's stay focussed on that, shall we?
    •  Terrorism vs. Iraq war (none)
      The numbers suggest that those who found terrorism to be important voted for Bush and those who found the Iraq War to be important voted for Kerry. We should keep in mind, however, that Bush supporters are much more inclined to see the Iraq War as one battlefield in the War on Terra. When you look at polling data on who the voters trusted to handle the Iraq War, the numbers aren't nearly as favorable for Kerry, because on that question Bush supporters don't exclude themselves because of their peculiar beliefs.

      In my opinion the number one reason why Kerry lost is because he couldn't sell himself to the great, ignorant masses as Bush's match when it comes to protecting the populace from terrorists. The election was decided on irrational fear - just not on fear of gays.

      "I don't understand 'proving to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.'" -- Condi

      by Fleischer on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 04:49:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and on national security (none)
        I have much less of an idea about how to counter the Bushies than on values.

        Bush defied both evidence and logic when he conflated the war on Iraq with the war on terror.  Even for folks who thought the war was a good thing to start, it would seem that Bush screwed it up so badly as to deserve the boot.  

        But John Kerry already made those points, effectively if not perfectly.  And he lost.  

        So what are we left with:  to keep harping on those points (of course we will--but why think it will be any more effective)?  To hope that something even more horrific happens, and wakes folks up (how many US troops have to die, and in how horrific a fashion, to break thru)?  

        If the Iraq war didn't cost Bush the election in 2004, it's hard to imagine it hurting the Republicans more in 2006 and 2008, when the US is sure to be pulling out (even if it's a very sloooow pull out).

        If I'm wrong here, somebody please tell me--because otherwise, this just looks like another reason to move to Canada (and yes, I'm kidding, so let's not start that conversation again).  

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