Skip to comments.Moral Values Cited as a Defining Issue of the Election
Posted on 11/04/2004 8:13:54 AM PST by Liz
Even in a time of war and economic hardship, Americans said they were motivated to vote for President Bush on Tuesday by moral values as much as anything else, according to a survey of voters as they left their polling places. In the survey, a striking portrait of one influential group emerged - that of a traditional, church-going electorate that leans conservative on social issues and strongly backed Mr. Bush in his victory over Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee.
Mr. Bush appealed overwhelmingly to voters on terrorism and to many others on his ability to handle the economy. But what gave him the edge in the election, which he won 51 percent to 48 percent, was a perceived sense of morality and traditional values.
Asked what one issue mattered most to them in choosing a president, "moral values" ranked at the top with the economy/jobs, terrorism and the war in Iraq. Trailing significantly were health care, taxes and education.
Of the people who chose "moral values" as their top issue, 80 percent voted for Mr. Bush. (For people who chose the economy/jobs, 80 percent voted for Mr. Kerry.) Nearly one-quarter of the electorate was made up of white evangelical and born-again Christians, and they voted four to one for Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush beat his Democratic opponent in almost all religious categories except among Jews, three-fourths of whom favored Mr. Kerry. But they made up only 3 percent of the electorate. Mr. Bush did particularly well among white Catholics, winning 56 percent of them compared with Mr. Kerry's 43 percent, despite Mr. Kerry's being the first Roman Catholic nominated for president since John F. Kennedy in 1960.
As the Democrats pick up the pieces after this election, a likely priority will be to consider how to recapture these so-called Reagan Democrats, the mostly Catholic, blue-collar cultural conservatives who were disaffected from the party of Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale but had been brought back into the fold by Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
Asked what one quality mattered most in choosing a president, 8 percent of all those surveyed on Tuesday chose "he has strong religious faith,'' and 91 percent of the people who chose that quality voted for Mr. Bush. By contrast, 7 percent chose "he is intelligent,'' and 91 percent of those people voted for Mr. Kerry.
The quality that mattered most to about a quarter of the voters was "he will bring about needed change,'' and 95 percent of the voters who picked that quality voted for Mr. Kerry. But that desire for change and the perception that Mr. Kerry was the better agent of change were overwhelmed by other voters with other priorities.
For example, Mr. Kerry had an advantage with 52 percent of those surveyed saying that the war in Iraq was going badly, compared to 44 percent who said it was going well. And 52 percent said the war in Iraq had not improved the long-term security of the United States.
But he apparently failed to convince voters that the war in Iraq was separate from the war on terrorism, and 55 percent of voters saw Iraq as just that - part of the war on terrorism, compared with only 42 percent who did not. And more voters trusted Mr. Bush to do a better job on terrorism.
Still, the issues of morality and values seemed to hurt Mr. Kerry as much as anything.
Church attendance remained a strong indicator of political preference. Of those who attend church more than once a week, 61 percent voted for Mr. Bush and 39 percent for Mr. Kerry. Of those who never attend church, the numbers were reversed.
Three-quarters of those who want to outlaw abortion in some or all cases voted for Mr. Bush. Four in 10 voters said there should be no recognition of gay and lesbian couples; three-quarters of those voters voted for Mr. Bush.
Another striking aspect of the survey was how differently New Yorkers perceive the world compared with their fellow Americans in the heartland. Exit polls showed that 23 percent of voters in New York State regarded the war in Iraq as the campaign's most important issue, and 12 percent regarded moral issues as most important. The situation was reversed in the swing states that line the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Arkansas, where moral values outranked Iraq.
Women voters continue to favor the Democratic Party, though not as starkly as they did four years ago. Mr. Bush did better among women this year, winning 48 percent of them, than he did in 2000, when he won 43 percent. As a result, Mr. Kerry drew somewhat fewer women than Al Gore, the Democratic nominee in 2000, drew four years ago.
As has been typical, married women favored the Republican, Mr. Bush (55 percent for Mr. Bush, 44 percent for Mr. Kerry), while single women favored the Democrat, Mr. Kerry (58 percent, to 40 for Mr. Bush). Married women with children strongly favored Mr. Bush, 59 percent to 40 percent.
Despite predictions that Mr. Kerry had failed to inspire black voters, he won the votes of 88 percent of them, nearly as high as Mr. Gore's 90 percent four years ago. Any success that Mr. Bush was reported to have reaped with black voters because of a shared opposition to gay marriage was only marginal: Mr. Bush drew just 11 percent of black voters, up from 8 percent in 2000.
Blacks accounted for 11 percent of the electorate, and Hispanics 8 percent. Mr. Kerry won Hispanics, 53 percent to 44 percent for Mr. Bush. But this was considerably off Mr. Gore's capture of 67 percent of Hispanics in 2000, and a better showing for Mr. Bush, who had drawn just 31 percent in 2000.
The much-discussed first-time voters did not really materialize. They made up 11 percent of the electorate this year, not much more than the 9 percent who voted for the first time in 2000. Perhaps more telling is the 17 percent of voters this time who did not vote in 2000: they include both first-time and lapsed voters. They favored Mr. Kerry, 54 percent to 45 percent.
Surprisingly for a Republican, Mr. Bush did better with people older than 60 than Mr. Kerry did. Mr. Kerry did worse with that age group than Mr. Gore did. But Mr. Kerry did better with voters younger than 30 (54 percent) than either Mr. Bush (45 percent) or Mr. Gore in 2000 (48 percent).
Mr. Bush drew more Republicans (93 percent) than Mr. Kerry drew Democrats (89 percent). More Democrats (11 percent) voted for Mr. Bush than Republicans (6 percent) voted for Mr. Kerry. Independents were split equally between the two.
Four percent of respondents said they were gay, lesbian or bisexual, and 77 percent of them voted for Mr. Kerry. Gun owners preferred Mr. Bush by a ratio of two to one, despite Mr. Kerry's hunting forays and other efforts to convince sportsmen that he was one of them.
More than three-quarters of voters said they had decided for whom they would vote more than a month ago. Of those, 53 percent voted for Mr. Bush, 46 percent for Mr. Kerry.
The nationwide surveys were taken with voters as they left polling places and were conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for five television networks and The Associated Press.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Damn, the NYT acts like it's a big surprise. We could have told them.
What is funny is that the answer was in front of them all the time, but they failed to properly interpret. MSM viewed polling that showed people viewed country on wrong track was favorable to Kerry and not Bush because that is what they wanted to believe, but the truth is that people voted for Bush because they want him to return country to right track.
If the election was about morals, then obviously the electorate percieved the LEFT of being devoid of them....
The NY Times doesn't believe that people, religious or not, see the President as a competent leader in a difficult time for our country. Instead, they chalk his win up to the fact that Americans are too "unenlightened" to choose someone like John Kerry. According to them, we didn't choose GWB based on intellectual analysis of the issues. We chose him because we are ignorant, "religious nuts".
Is it permissible to say that part of their blindness is that the NYT has embraced all of the elitist doctrine and behavior that is not favored by most Americans, including aggressively flaunted homosexuality, and is blinded by that to the Truth?
Can I get me a, uh, clue here? -John Kerry
Absolutely. Because they are moral relativists, they arrogantly believe that anyone who is not is intellectually inferior.
They're kind of missing the point that Iraq and WOT are also moral issues, at least in my mind.
Oh no you don't.
Looks like the "Uriah Heeps"-----the agenda-laden elliptical thinkers are out there trying to take credit for conservative victories.
We will not tolerate any mucking up of our hard-won conservative victory with hidden agendas.
Moral issues are moral issues are moral issues.
As I posted above, Beware the "Uriah Heeps" in the shadows....planning, plotting, ingratiating their way into conservatives' confidence.
They would grab our conservative victory---- and dilute the president's mandate----- for their own self-serving agendas.
They could care less for the rights of the unborn and the rest of the proto-conservative issues that drove millions of Christians to the polls.
The agenda-laden, elliptical thinkers are lurking out there trying to take credit for conservative victories.
It ain't gonna happen.
Any mucking up of our hard-won conservative victory with hidden agendas will be met with fierce resistance.
Moral issues are moral issues are moral issues.
The Times doesn't get it.
By saying "even in a time of war and economic hardship..." they show they believe that moral values are separate concepts from "war" and "economic issues" rather than guiding principals to use in approaching those issues.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.