2012 election

Barna Reports: Issues Matter More to Voters Than Anything Else

If you have read books like Drew Westen’s The Political Brain, you might be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at this headline. A large body of work has emerged over the past few years that suggest that we vote with our hearts, rather than our heads. Policies, this body of work says, matter far less than our gut reaction to a candidate, their character and the party we naturally align ourselves with.

So to those who agree with this research, the results of a new report from the Barna Group might be surprising. Across the board, a candidates’ position on issues is overwhelmingly more important than their character, their party affiliation or their religious faith.

Polls: Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Endorsement Not Likely to Affect Election

RNS photo by Emily Mills/courtesy Flickr

RNS photo by Emily Mills/courtesy Flickr

President Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage opened a torrent of speculation on what his newly enunciated position will mean politically, but the latest polls indicate the public largely backs his views and that his stance may not hurt him at the ballot box.

A Gallup poll in early May showed that by a 54-42 percent margin, American adults consider gay and lesbian relations “morally acceptable.” The level of approval has grown steadily since 2002, when it stood at 38 percent, so much so that Gallup considers the current situation “the new normal” in U.S. public opinion.

Another Gallup survey taken on May 10, a day after Obama announced his “evolution” in thinking on gay marriage, showed that 60 percent of Americans said it would make no difference in how they will vote in November, while 13 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for him and 26 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for him.

How Congress Can Hinder a Presidential Campaign

From yesterday's New York Times

"There is nothing a presidential campaign likes less than to be forced to answer for someone else’s actions. And yet President Obama and Mitt Romney are likely to face that challenge repeatedly during this election season as their allies and adversaries in Congress pursue agendas that do not always make things easy on the campaign trail."

Read the full story here

Why Religion Will Continue to Shape the 2012 Election

Dan Gilgoff and other religion reporters examine why social issues will continue to shape the narrative of the 2012 election:

"Everyone knows the 2012 presidential race is about jobs and the economy. As likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney said a couple weeks ago: “It’s still about the economy, and we’re not stupid.” But have you noticed how the culture wars keep intruding into this it’s-all-about-the-economy election?"

Learn more here

A New Way of Being Christian in the Public Square

Three decades ago, the evangelical faithful was galvanized by public debates over abortion, the size of the federal government, the future of the traditional family, and religious liberty. Many responded by following divisive leaders into the culture wars with the promise that voting for "moral" leadership would end abortion, protect traditional marriage and put our country on the right track.

How did that work? Not so well, it turns out.

The Democrat-Evangelical Disconnect

In yesterday's New York Times, professor and author T.M. Luhrmann examined how Democrats can speak to evangelicals more effectively:

To be sure, they won’t connect to every evangelical. But the good news for secular liberals is that evangelicals are smarter and more varied than many liberals realize. I met doctors, scientists and professors at the churches where I studied. They cared about social justice. They cared about the poor. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many of them got into their cars and drove to New Orleans. This is a reachable population, and back in 2008, a quarter of white evangelicals voted for Mr. Obama. Democrats could speak to evangelicals more effectively if they talked about how we could develop our moral character together as we work to rebuild our country.
Read the rest of his article here

The Challenge

Glenn Kessler, writer of the Washington Post Factchecker column, issues a challenge to President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney:

"With the presidential election looming in exactly six months, I would like to issue a challenge to you both: Give at least one campaign speech, on a substantive policy issue, lasting at least 15 minutes, that does not contain a single factual error or misstatement. That means no sugar-coating of your record, no exaggerated claims about your opponent’s record, and no assertions that are technically true but lack crucial context."

I’m not holding my breath for the challenge to be accepted.

The Idolatry of Politics and the Promise of the Common Good

Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis

Politics is a true American idol, and the 2012 presidential election will be a dramatic demonstration of that reality.

Simply put, we create an idol when we ascribe attributes or place hope in persons or things that should belong only to God. People of faith may be tempted to worship at the altar of politics, but make no mistake: The kingdom of God and the kingdoms of politics are never one and the same.

Our worship of God rightly should shape our engagement with politics, but when politics shapes our religion it distorts our service (and worship) of the One True God.

Sojourners' Tim King Talks Politicians, Politics and Faith on CNN Radio

Tim King, Communications Director for Sojourners.

Tim King, Communications Director for Sojourners.

Today, Sojourners' Communications Director Tim King talks with CNN's Lisa Desjardins about politicians and God-talk in this 2012 presidential election season.

From CNN.com:

Is Washington a holy city? It might seem that way, with all the talk about religion and morality in the 2012 election.

But all that God talk may be rubbing voters the wrong way.

"It's getting ugly out there," said Tim King, an evangelical Christian who works for the progressive religious group Sojourners. "There are a lot of Christians who are using their faith as a political weapon, which it's never meant to be."

Listen to Tim's comments on CNN Radio inside the blog.

Conservatives Go After ‘NASCAR Christian’ Vote

Patriotic racecar.Walter G Arce / Shutterstock.com

Patriotic racecar.Walter G Arce / Shutterstock.com

Back in John Kerry’s ill-fated 2004 presidential campaign, Democrats tried to attract so-called “NASCAR Dads” – white, working-class, mainly Southern fellows – to try to blunt George W. Bush’s re-election and show folks that Kerry was not a wealthy patrician who only appealed to “soccer moms.”

Now Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition is trying to corral what might be called “NASCAR Christians” in hopes that social conservatives will give Mitt Romney a crucial boost in November.