The Disappearing God Gap?
After the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004, the “God Gap” became a hotly debated political issue. Religious voters were seen as the key to Bush’s victory, and the Democratic Party began scrambling to reach out to them while pollsters and pundits continued to argue that church-attending traditionalists align against believers and non-believers with modern sensibilities in the American election process. Four years later, with the economy in a tailspin on Election Day, religion barely seemed to register on people’s radar screens. Following the election of Barack Obama, there was little discussion of religion – suggesting that religious factors had played little, if any, role in his victory. And yet the campaign was full of religious stories, from John McCain’s reconciliation with the leaders of the Christian right, to the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to Sara Palin’s appeal to religious conservatives. In this book, a team of well-regarded scholars puts the disappearing “God gap” argument to the test by examining the role of religion in the historic 2008 presidential election. They take the long view, placing the election in historical context and looking at the campaigns from the primaries all the way through to Election Day. At the heart of their analysis is a national survey conducted by the authors, in which voters were interviewed in the spring of 2008 and then re-interviewed after the election. The Disappearing God Gap? reveals that the role of religion in American presidential elections continues to structure vote choices, and rather than disappearing, it will likely continue to influence electoral politics. However, the “God gap” may be slowly changing, and in some astonishing ways.
"A valuable addition to our understanding of religion's role in American politics broadly, not just the 2008 presidential election."--Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
"This fine new book offers a thorough and timely analysis of the role of religion in the 2008 presidential election. It also contextualizes religion's role in this history-making election, illustrating in many ways that the more things change, the more they truly do stay the same: religious traditionalists remained solidly Republican despite increased efforts on the part of the Democrats to reach out to people of faith. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in religion and politics political parties, or elections in the United States."
--Laura R. Olson, Professor of Political Science, Clemson University
"A must-read for anyone who is interested in religion's continuing--and changing--role in electoral politics in the United States."--Sociology of Religion
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