100 Economics Question of the Day: An Intermittent Blog: Steve Waldman ignores his own data

Monday, March 13, 2006

Steve Waldman ignores his own data

The Washington Monthly somewhat proudly adds guest commenters such as Amy Sullivan and Steve Waldman (yes, I know him slightly from college, and, yes, his brother was President Clinton's chief speechwriter, and, no, neither of those affects the underlying data) who tell us that the problem with the Democratic party is the Secular Leftists.

Steve, unlike Amy, cites data (that he published at his admirable beliefnet site) and complains that "secular liberals...seem to have a disproportionate impact on the [Democratic] party's image and approach."

One might wish Steve would examine his own data. The self-identified "Religious Left" split their vote in 2000 evenly between the candidates. That same group in 2004 went 7 to 3 for John Kerry. And the self-identified "Religious Right"? Well, Kerry polled 1% less than Al Gore did--but George Bush also lost 1% of that vote.

Still, are the Evangelicals alienated by Democrats? "Moderate Evangelicals" were 7% of both Gore and Kerry voters. But Bush/Cheney, again, lost 1% of that vote.

The only two places in that table where the Republican vote change is greater than the Democratic party is in Latino Christians and Black Protestants, the latter group of which declined (both as a portion of Democratic vote and as a participation in the electoral process) as distance from the Clinton administration increased.

Looking at the data Waldman cites, it is clear that, if the "secular left" is leading the Democratic party, it's gaining popularity among exactly the demographic that Waldman, David Brooks, and many others identify as declining.

One has to wonder if they understand their own evidence.

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