Recent Polling on Rural Voters and Democrats
This is from the most recent polling from Democracy Corps on rural voters and the Democratic party. Clearly it shows how the authentic voice of Christians in the Democratic party is needed -- both to be accepted as a key part of the national party, and to be expressed on a grassroots level in our political discourse:
"Democracy Corps conducted eight focus groups over the last six weeks among rural voters in Wisconsin and Arkansas and disaffected Bush voters in Kentucky and Colorado that powerfully demonstrated the tremendous challenge Democrats face in regaining the ground they have lost in these areas over the last decade. The problem is not Republican popularity – indeed, most voters in these groups were tremendously upset over the current direction of the country and saw little difference between Democrats and Republicans in Washington. However, there is one distinction they see clearly that severely limits the potential for Democratic gains.
In all eight groups, participants’ broad dissatisfaction with the country’s direction was focused on three issues – the lack of progress or a clear plan in Iraq, a stagnant economy without job security, and skyrocketing health care costs.
President Bush and Republicans in Congress were faulted for their lack of effective leadership on these issues and their failure to offer new ideas. Furthermore, there was strong support for some specific progressive initiatives and a belief among many that Democrats would be more willing to tackle these issues and to offer new ideas in the face of current policies that are clearly failing.
However, as powerful as the concern over these issues is, the introduction of cultural themes – specifically gay marriage, abortion, the importance of the traditional family unit, and the role of religion in public life – quickly renders them almost irrelevant in terms of electoral politics at the national level.
Regardless of voters’ attitudes on the role of religion in public life or their position on touchstone issues such as abortion and gay marriage or even their personal religious faith, they all see Republicans as a party with a clear and consistent position on cultural issues and an abiding respect for the importance of faith and traditional social norms. Democrats’ lack of a consistent stance on cultural issues leaves a vacuum that is clearly being filled by voices on the right. Most referred to Democrats as ‘liberal’ on issues of morality, but some even go so far as to label them ‘immoral,’ ‘morally bankrupt,’ or even ‘anti-religious.’"