Thursday, April 5, 2012

Memo To Journalists: Religious Affiliation Does Not Define Voter Affiliation –

Stop Reporting Like it Does

One of the great defects of American political life is the fact that reputable and well read journalists are frequently just hacks, reporting what they think is going on rather than reporting what is actually going on.  Several cases in point are in the news recently.  For example, it is regarded as a accepted fact that people’s religion defines how they will vote and what policies they support.

So under this theory Rick Santorum will get huge support from Catholic voters because Mr. Santorum is a candidate running on Catholic values, and Mr. Romney is a Mormon who some religious bigots regard as being a non-Christian.  All of this sounds logical except for one important fact.  Exit polls show Mr. Romney, not Mr. Santorum winning the Catholic vote.

The 'why' of this is fairly straight forward unless a person is a lazy journalist who doesn’t both to investigate facts.  Catholics frequently separate their religion from the social agenda and social issues in politics.  The Catholic Church may be anti-birth control, but this does not mean the Catholic populace feels that way.  Many Catholics seem  comfortable separating their religion from secular life, recognizing that their religious beliefs are private and not necessarily ones that should be foisted onto the public at large.  For this reason Mr. Romney is much more appealing than Mr. Santorum.

Conventional wisdom is that Jewish voters care only about Israel, and that any criticism of Israel, however much merited, by the President will send Jewish voters flocking to the Republicans.  Republicans believe this which is why they spend a huge amount of political capital criticizing the President on the issue of Israel.

But as it turns out Jewish voters are multi-dimensional, and look at the issue in a general sense.  So it should be of surprise only to journalists and Republicans that Jewish voters are supporting Mr. Obama.

A new poll of American Jews, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, finds that 62 percent of Jewish voters prefer Obama over a generic Republican. About a third of American Jews prefer a Republican candidate. Of those that prefer a GOP candidate, 56 percent back Mitt Romney. Among voters who backed Obama in 2008, 86 percent want him reelected – with 7 percent crossing over to support a generic Republican.

Of course, this does not mean Jewish voters are happy with the President.

Still, a plurality – 35 percent – of Jewish voters rate themselves as “disappointed” with the Obama presidency, while 33 percent rate themselves as “satisfied.” And 46 percent of Obama’s Jewish supporters report that, while they support him, they’re “not excited” about casting a ballot for him.

but this is more a function of the Jewish personality (yes The Dismal Political Economist is Jewish, what did you think he was?) than anything else.  Jewish people are generally unhappy with every thing and every one.  It’s the way we express enjoyment.  Mr. Obama is not the exception in this case, he is the rule.

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