A reassertion of traditional values seemed the most conspicuous trend in last month’s elections. President Nixon, the centrist candidate, was reelected by a record margin. Referendums in several states on moral and religious issues such as abortions showed an inclination to resist major change.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY’s census of the next congress (see page 40) shows that the religious mix remains almost the same as 1970 (see December 4, 1970, issue, page 33). In the most notable shifts, Baptists and Disciples picked up four seats each, and Presbyterians have five seats fewer. Catholics gained four governorships.
The President had considerably more support from Catholics this year than he had in 1968. The New York Post, basing its figures on an NBC study of 1,500 precincts and CBS interviews with 15,000 voters, said that 56 per cent of Catholics who voted cast their ballots for the Nixon-Agnew ticket. George Fine Research, in a survey for CBS, placed the percentage at 53.
According to the Gallup Poll, for the past twenty years a majority of American Catholics have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee. Four years ago, only 33 per cent of Catholics voted for Nixon.
The Jewish vote in the President’s column was estimated at between 32 and 34 per cent, almost twice the total he is believed to have had in 1968.
Perhaps more important than the voters’ choice of candidates was their expression of opinion in referendums. In North Dakota, a proposal to liberalize the state’s abortion law was defeated three to one. In Michigan, a similar plan lost by a vote of nearly two to one. Until a week before the election, Michigan polls had been predicting that the measure would pass.
Current North Dakota laws allow ...1
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