Millennials: Economic Justice Must Buttress Budgetary Decisions

April 20, 2012, 4:18 pm | Posted by

Amid the intense debate about the Paul Ryan budget and competing visions for the future, the future has finally gotten the chance to speak.

In a millennial values survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center and the Public Religion Research Institute, the data is clear: young people are frustrated with economic policies that promote injustice.

Nearly three-quarters of Millennials (73%) think the economic system in the United States favors the wealthy. This belief is consistent across all divides of race, gender, educational attainment or religious affiliation. Even 6-in-10 Milllennial Republicans (58%) agree with this sentiment.

Equal opportunity is also of great concern to Milllennials. More than 6-in-10 think that one of the major issues in the United States is that we don’t give all the same opportunity in life.

As all eyes turn to the race for the White House this election year, pundits will be obsessed with the latest poll numbers, NASCAR dads and soccer moms. But perhaps they will pay a bit more attention to the concerns affecting young people, namely fair economic opportunity for all.

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Sojourners Breaks Myth of Monolithic Christian Vote

April 19, 2012, 2:56 pm | Posted by

Sojourners is launching its new “Voting for Us” campaign highlighting the way that Christians (particularly young Christians) are concerned about a broad array of issues that go beyond traditional stereotypes about “values voters.”

Watch their video introducing the campaign:

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Religious voters in the AL and MS primary exit polls

March 15, 2012, 9:37 am | Posted by

The exit polls in Alabama and Mississippi revealed that Rick Santorum’s strong appeal to social conservatives transcends regional differences, as does Mitt Romney’s reliance on rich voters.

In Mississippi, Santorum won a narrow plurality of evangelicals (35%, compared to Gingrich’s 32% and Romney’s 29%). It broke down almost identically in Alabama, where Santorum, Gingrich and Romney respectively winning 35%, 32% and 27% of evangelicals.

However, Santorum won voters who said candidates’ religious beliefs “matter a great deal” by 15 percentage points in Mississippi and 16 percentage points in Alabama. He also earned support from a whopping 65% of Mississippi voters and 61% of Alabama voters who said “strong moral character” was the most important candidate quality. And once again, Santorum was the runaway favorite among voters who believe abortion should always be illegal.

Once again, Romney’s strongest support came from the wealthy, winning among voters who make over $100k/yr in both Alabama in Mississippi, but coming in third among voters who make less than $50k/yr.

Given that 80% of primary voters in Mississippi and 75% of primary voters in Alabama are evangelical, and that only one quarter of voters in these states had six-figure incomes, Santorum’s victories should hardly have come as a surprise.

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Same split, different state

March 8, 2012, 2:15 pm | Posted by

The exit polls from Tuesday’s tightly contested Ohio Republican primary closely resemble Michigan’s from last week, with Santorum and Romney’s supporters clearly breaking along religious, ideological and class divides.

Once again, Santorum won white evangelicals (47%, compared to Romney’s 30%), and Romney won Catholics (44%, compared to Santorum’s 31%).

Once again, Romney cleaned up with high-income voters. He beat Santorum by 14 percentage points among those who make over $100K/year and a whopping 29 percentage points among those who make over $200K/year.

Once again, Santorum was the right-wing favorite. He won 48% of “very conservative” voters, compared to Romney’s 30%. Santorum also beat Romney by 9 percentage points among voters who “strongly support” the Tea Party.

Once again, Santorum dominated among anti-abortion voters. Two-thirds of those who say abortion is the most important issue voted for Santorum, and he beat Romney by  16 percentage points among voters who think abortion should always be illegal.

What we have here is a clear divide between the well-heeled establishment and the staunchly conservative base. With Romney now a near-lock to win the nomination, it will be interesting to see if he can broaden his appeal beyond the wealthiest Americans and connect not only with social conservatives, but also with middle- and working-class voters. Given the pitched culture-war battles going on right now, that’s an awfully tall order.

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Religious Right Tries Hand at High-Tech Voter Registration, Fails

March 2, 2012, 11:00 am | Posted by

BallotUnited in Purpose is a Religious Right group formed to register conservative Christian voters for the 2012 election. With connections to the American Family Association and Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign-launching prayer rally, UiP’s stated aim is to register 5 million new voters before November.

Funded in part by Silicon Valley venture capitalists, the organization hopes to use advanced “micro-targeting” technology to buy massive amounts of consumer data, identify the unregistered voters likely to support conservative candidates, and equip volunteers in their neighborhoods to go door-to-door and sign them up.

Unfortunately, it looks like their ambitious plans have hit an initial snag. Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports:

The first person on [volunteer Scott] Spages’ list lives in a gated community. The guard won’t let him through, so he makes a phone call. He identifies himself and asks if he can speak to Orlando, who — according to UIP’s database — is not registered to vote. Spages listens, then says, “Oh, OK. So, Orlando and everyone in the house is registered? OK.”

Puzzled, Spages drives to the next house. There, too, everyone is registered. It happens again at the next house and the next, so when Spages reaches Brenda Jacobson to ask if she wants to register, he’s not surprised by her answer.

“Well, I’m registered, so I’m not sure why my name showed up,” she says.

“We found that a lot tonight,” Spages responds, “so I’m going to have to double check that.”

As it turns out, all of the names on the Florida list are registered voters — a mistake that United In Purpose discovered after NPR’s reporting. In South Carolina and Iowa, the UIP lists also contained registered voters.

Even in states where the lists are correct, UiP volunteers are finding a lot of unregistered voters are that way for a reason:

“I’m sorry, they’re all crooks and you’ll never be able to blame me,” the woman says, declining the registration form Clymer offers.

“I’m just trying to get Christians to go out and vote,” Clymer protests.

“Well, I’m a Christian, but that’s as far as this is going to go,” she says, and closes the door.

Clymer leaves, discouraged.

“I wish at least one person would take it,” she laments.

But no one takes a registration form that afternoon.

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