Do Religious Issues Still Matter? What Role Did They Play in the 2010 Elections?
The recent midterm elections saw the largest loss of seats in the House of Representatives for the party in power since 1938. Many attribute these losses primarily to voters’ angst over fiscal issues, but what role did religion play, if any? The pre-election American Values Survey showed that nearly half of those who consider themselves a part of the tea party movement also consider themselves a part of the Christian conservative movement. Will these “teavangelical voters,” as some have taken to calling them, expect new members of Congress to take conservative positions on social as well as fiscal issues? What does that mean for the future of policies such as “don’t ask don’t tell” or health care reform? And what does the new influence of the tea party mean for the Christian conservative movement in the Republican Party?
On November 17, the religion, policy and politics project at Brookings and the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) hosted a discussion of the role of religion in the 2010 elections. Brookings Senior Fellows E.J. Dionne Jr. and William Galston released a paper analyzing the role religion and social issues played in the midterm elections and discussing implications for the next two years. Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, presented new findings from PRRI’s post-election call-back American Values Survey. Anna Greenberg, vice president at Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research, and Michael Cromartie, vice president at the Ethics and Public Policy Center joined the discussion.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.