Mid-way through watching The Daily Show's election night special, Weblog's usual author, Ted Olsen, went to bed for a good night's sleep. Fortunately, Christianity Today assistant editor Collin Hansen kept watching the returns come in, so he gets to write today's preliminary election roundup. More analysis will follow, and we'll be posting the day's non-election-related religion news later today.
The presidential race is no longer in doubt, and Election Day's headline is written: In a time of economic uncertainty and international instability, "moral values" is the most important issue in the minds of American voters.
Nationwide, exit polls show that 22 percent of voters cited "moral values" as the one issue that mattered most when considering how to vote for President. In what will surely come as a shock to mainstream media, more voters cited moral values than either the economy/jobs (20 percent), terrorism (19 percent), or Iraq (17 percent). Across the nation, and particularly in key battleground states, Bush's stance on moral values stanched his staggering losses among voters who cared primarily about Iraq and the economy/jobs. Among those who cited moral values as their top priority, Bush defeated Kerry 79-18. The numbers were dramatic in Ohio, the state that ensured Bush's victory. Self-described white evangelical/born-again voters composed 25 percent of the Ohio electorate and supported Bush by a 76-24 margin. Jobs were the key concern for Ohio voters (24 percent), but moral issues was right behind (23 percent). Much like the rest of the country, these morally minded voters supported Bush 85-14.
Much has been made in this campaign of Bush political adviser Karl Rove's contention that up to 4 million evangelicals stayed ...1