December 4th, 2004

it's not the religion after all, stupid

There's an interesting article in the New Yorker this week (unfortunately not online) about a recent panel discussion at Stanford about why Bush won. The conclusions were:

  • Religion and moral values didn't really have that much to do with it:
    • The exit polling that pointed to moral values as being important was both flawed in general (after all, exit polls predicted Kerry would win by a landslide) and was based on a closed-ended question.
    • In 1996, when Clinton was re-elected, the LA Times exit poll showed 40% of people saying moral values were the one issue that mattered most--the same percentage as this year in the same poll.
  • The real reason Bush won: 9/11.
    • 49% of voters said they trusted only Bush to handle terrorism, and among those, 97% voted for Bush. End of story.
    • Even though only 33% of voters thought the invasion of Iraq was worth it, 52% thought it was the right thing to do.

Conclusion: the Democrats shouldn't move to the right as a result of this election; just chalk it up to 9/11 and stick to their guns.