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Blame the Jews!

October 26th, 2004 - 10:22 pm

This is interesting:

…starting in the 1970s, religious denomination began to matter less — and religious intensity to matter more and more. Catholics who went to Mass every week started voting more like Episcopalians who went to church every week than like Catholics who didn’t. During the culture wars of the 1990s, the trend accelerated. This spring a study by the University of Akron’s John Green for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found “that religious traditionalists, whether Evangelical, Mainline Protestant or Catholic, hold similar positions on issue after issue, and that modernists of all these various traditions are similarly like-minded.” With the critical exception of African Americans — whose religiousness has not generally inclined them toward the GOP — traditionalist Christians voted Republican while modernist Christians voted Democratic.

Jews, however, were different. As late as 2000, Al Gore and his Orthodox running mate, Joe Lieberman, didn’t just win most of the Jewish vote, they won a large majority among Orthodox Jews — the “traditionalists” whom sociologists might have expected to join their Christian counterparts. But it now appears that, like Jimmy Carter, who won the votes of his fellow evangelicals in 1976, Lieberman simply delayed his community’s migration into the Republican Party. This year, for probably the first time, Orthodox Jews will vote like “traditionalist” Christians. Conservative, Reform and non-affiliated Jews, on the other hand, will vote like secular, or “modernist,” Christians. And the Jewish vote, in a meaningful sense, will cease to exist.

I can tell you this much: the Conservative Jews I know are voting for Bush this year. So while Peter Beinart may be right about the end of the “Jewish vote,” he might want to move his Orthodox-Republican/Conservative-Reform-non-affiliated-Democrat scale one notch to the right.

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