Church, State, and Political Pandering

Written by Rana Tahir’13

'Vote Here' sign

On Tuesday, the Elections 2012! class received a lecture from Professor Duane Oldfield on the role religion plays in politics. Dividing the class into a Republican camp and a Democrat camp (not based on actual affiliations), he asked us to speculate on which groups we “as a party” should focus on getting to vote.

Professor Oldfield revealed the breakdown afterward.

It turned out that Democrats generally do well among those who do not attend church regularly; Latino, Hispanic, or black Catholics; atheists; people unaffiliated with a religion; and Jews.

Republicans do well with Anglicans; evangelicals and born-again Christians; Orthodox Jews; those who attend church at least weekly; Mormons; and white Protestants.

Professor Oldfield then went on to describe the changes in today’s political climate. For instance a Mormon (Mitt Romney) is running for president, whereas back in the day people were questioning John F. Kennedy’s loyalty because he was Catholic. Weird times. Though all the hullabaloo about Barack Obama not really being a Muslim would say otherwise.

So since tonight (as I’m writing this it’s October 3rd) is the first presidential debate, I decided to put this to the test. Let’s see how many times religion comes up and who each candidate panders to!

End of Debate: Mitt Romney mentioned God once.

Progress? I guess religion isn’t that big a deal this time around…

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