Editorial: "God Gulf" in Politics is a Myth

March 5, 2004

Source: Beliefnet


On March 5, 2004 Beliefnet reported, "The Democrats have become the 'secular party,' the Republicans the party of the religious. So says the current conventional wisdom. This 'God Gulf,' in the words of New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, is reflected in polls like this recent one from Pew Center for People and the Press: 64 percent of those who attend church more than once a week intend to vote for President Bush while 66 percent of those who never attend plan to vote for the Democrat - a whopping 32 point gap. Columnist Robert Novak refers to the 'highly secularist' nature of the Democratic Party, echoing an article in the Public Interest magazine called 'Our Secularist Democratic Party.' But there is no God Gulf. It's a myth. Yes, there are significant differences between the approaches of Democratic and Republican voters on religion, but much political analysis has misstated what's actually going on. What we have seen is not a faith gap but a church attendance gap... But church attendance is just one aspect of religiosity. When that same poll asked about 'prayer outside of worship' the gap shrunk dramatically, with 67 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats reporting that they pray daily or more often."