Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Sep/09

26

Religious change in the parties

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Comment below:

As this shift occurred what happened with the proportion of white Catholics in the Democratic Party? Did it similarly fall, hold steady or rise? Is there a story there?

Have you GSS blogged on the differences between Democratic Catholic attitudes to issues versus Democratic Fundamentalist attitudes? What I’m wondering is whether there has been a corresponding rise of Catholic influence as Protestant influence has diminished, in particular cafeteria Catholicism rather than doctrinal Catholicism?

The data are for whites only….

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4 comments

  • Religious change in the parties…. « Talk Islam · September 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm

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  • TangoMan · September 26, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks for doing the digging on that question.

    What I’m seeing in the data is that even today there are more Catholics in the Democratic Party than there are in the Republican Party, and this is after (1975-2008) a 5 percentage point drop in representation in Democratic composition and a 5 percentage point gain in Republican composition.

    Secondly, to the extent that religious perspectives informed Democratic policies, the voices of Protestants outnumbered Catholics in 1980 by a 1.7 factor but by 2008 the ratio was down to 1.45X, while the rise of the None vote, in relation to the Protestant, went from a multiple of 8x down to 2.1.

    The hypothesis of the original post was that the Democratic Party is visibly becoming the party of secular ideas, and if this is so then I wonder about the power that arises from the slope of the change lines. The rise of the seculars is more drastic, even though by body count their are more Catholics in the party. Does a faster growing demographic change have more impact on policy and party identity than proportion of demographic?

    Now we know that all voices are not equal in strength so influence isn’t necessarily proportional to representation, hence Jewish influence in Democratic circles remains strong despite modest representation, so I’m wondering if the seculars punch above their weight, like Jews, in how they shape the party and secondarily has the Catholic voice, however distinct that might be, gained in influence as the Protestant voice has diminished in influence?

    As for the Republicans, why are Catholics holding steady in representation when the loss of Protestants is, it seems, countered by the gain of seculars? Whatever is driving the loss of Protestants from the Republican Party doesn’t seem to be affecting Catholics. Could it be that Protestants were viewing political party affiliation differently than Catholics?

  • TangoMan · September 26, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    I’d assume that if Hispanics were included then the Democratic Party would see a rise in the number of Catholics and that this would reduce the slope of the secular rise.

    Right now Hispanics don’t seem to be as politically active as Whites, so even if there is a rising Catholic proportion it doesn’t seem to be influencing the changed perceptions arising from the rise of the seculars. However, what happens if Catholic Hispanics start to become as politically active as Whites? Will the secular influence diminish? Will the Democratic Party become the Christian Socialist Party of the US?

  • Author comment by David Hume · September 27, 2009 at 12:06 am

    The rise of the seculars is more drastic, even though by body count their are more Catholics in the party. Does a faster growing demographic change have more impact on policy and party identity than proportion of demographic?

    i did limit by education. the % of jews and seculars shoots way up. who are these seculars? the *american religious identification* survey finds that among “nones” 1/3 are ex-catholics, with irish being the most prominent ethnicity.

    I’d assume that if Hispanics were included then the Democratic Party would see a rise in the number of Catholics and that this would reduce the slope of the secular rise.

    actually, perhaps less than you’d expect. they are more socially conservative, though not nearly as much as blacks, but hispanics are not much secular than non-hispanicwhites now. this was not true in 1990. also, last i checked the catholic proportion had dropped to 60%. 25% are protestant. balance are nones and other religions.

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