The topline number in this Pew survey shows that the current breakdown among registered voters is 43/48 GOP/Dem, which is a seven point shift from their 39/51 results in 2008. Now that alone should worry the Democrats, seeing as Pew found that the breakdown in 2010 was 43/47, which was the year where Democrats got shellacked across the country; but the news is if anything worse when you look at the breakdown by religious affiliation. A lot of attention will be on how Jewish support for the GOP went from 20/72 to 29/65 between ’08 and today; but what may be even more important is that that GOP support among white Mainline Protestant and white Catholic voters flipped from 45/45 and 41/49 in 2008 to 51/39 & 49/42 in 2011. How this will translate into likely voters is, of course, anybody’s guess… but if you’ve been wondering why the President is suddenly talking about how neat God is, it’s probably because somebody on his staff is keeping track of Pew.
As to how this breaks down in the 2012 election… well, obviously the increase in Jewish support (as Pew notes, those new supporters are identifying as Republicans, not as Republican-leaning) is going to have an impact in Florida, which is a state looking increasingly like it’s going to be leaving the Democratic column. But possibly what may be even more important was what happened with Mormon support: it went from 68/19 in 2008 to 80/17 in 2011. If I had to guess as to why, I suspect that this represents fallout from the incredibly racist* Democratic response to California’s Proposition 8; and if you’re wondering what the point is then I suggest that you look at this map of LDS population percentages in 1990. Mormons make up somewhere around seven and a half percent of Nevada’s population, and while the numbers are much smaller in Colorado and New Mexico they are still significant. While Obama comfortably won all three states in 2008, they are all considered in play for 2012: couple that with Republican gains among white Catholics and we’re seeing a suddenly-rickety Democratic position in the Mountain West.
And that’s with a Generic Republican candidate.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Oh, yes, rushing to blame white Mormons for their opposition to same-sex marriage – as opposed to African-American and Latino Californians, both of which groups voted to pass Proposition 8- counts as racism; after all, there was no earthly reason to do it except that one group had a conveniently low average melanin count in their skin. And the reaction to such blatant scapegoating should – but probably will not – act as a cautionary tale.