South Carolina Exit Polls – Between The Lines

Posted: January 21, 2012 in Election, politics, Religion, Statistics and Lies

We never get political Reality TV like this in Canada.

By far the most interesting and revealing analysis of last night’s S. Carolina Primary can be found in the CNN exit polls.  Certainly exit polls are not perfectly accurate (although the predictions seemed to be pretty bang on last night), but nowhere else can you get an analysis that breaks down the voting demographically.  And the analysis that I saw last night has some very striking inferences embedded in it.

The first interesting statistic is when they broke down results relative to the question “How important are the religious convictions of the candidate to your decision?”  Those that claimed that it was important were saying that their Evangelical Christian values were basically determining their vote.  Those that claimed it was not a factor were clearly basing their decision on non-religious factors.  In the analysis, those that claimed that religious convictions were very important or somewhat important voted strongly for Gingrich.  Those that did not regard it as a significant motivation voted for Romney.

Given the fact that Gingrich can certainly not be regarded as a paramour in the values department, having been accused by his 2nd wife of literal debauchery just a few days before the election, one has to ask why these Evangelical Christian voters were thinking when they cast their votes for him.  Newt Gingrich is definitely not a poster boy for family values, and yet he took the social conservative vote.  Why?

The obvious answer is that they are opposed to Romney’s Mormon religion.  Analysis of the data demonstrates a pretty clear picture of religious bigotry.  They’re willing to accept a man who has more than a faint shadow of a weasel, passing up a person whose personal values (at least) have had very little criticism.  I don’t see another explanation.  Bigotry.  Christian prejudice.  They would rather have a tainted Christian than a relatively untainted “non-Christian”.

Now, if that weren’t enough, an additional analysis pitted male and female voters.  That analysis showed that while the religious prejudice was less pronounced with female voters than with male, it was still very much evident.  So even a large proportion of the women voters felt that even though the apparently Christian candidate was more than a little shady in his association with women, it still didn’t matter to many of them (although obviously it did to some).

The third analysis looked at voting compared to income.  Here it was shown that Gingrich led the poll in everything except the top 10%.   That top 10% voted decisively for Romney and there was a sliding scale on the income continuum.  (I realize that this is a generalization, but I’m really only looking at generalities.)  This means several things.  On the surface, one can assume with some degree of confidence that those top 10% are likely, on average, more successful and more intelligent than most of the others.  In a lateral analysis, this strongly suggests that the Evangelical Christian voters in S. Carolina are neither in that top 10% and subsequently not the most intelligent and successful segment of the population.  Yes, I’m trying diplomatically to say that the Evangelical Christian voters seem to be the lower economic strata and perhaps not that intelligent.  There, …I’ve said it.  It’s not only supported by the stats but by the long tradition of anti-intellectualism supported by these people.

Hey.  Those are the stats.  The inferences are mine.  If you don’t agree, comment.


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