The new huge Pew Form report on politics and religion in America is out now. It’s one of the most discouraging I can remember in the past 5 years. The proportion of people who think there should be more religion in politics is up, the proportion who support same-sex marriage has leveled or dropped, the proportion who think being gay is a sin is up, and the Christian right is still agitating for being allowed more direct political involvement by their churches. The more things don’t go their way, the more they dig in.
That’s the tip of the iceberg, but there’s a lot more in the report. The only good sign I’ve picked out of the report so far is that most Democratic voters polled said the party was representing their social views well. While it wasn’t necessarily overwhelmingly true on specific issues, it seems to be more true than before.
I suspect that’s a result of a combination of some non-aligned (i.e. socially conservative) Democratic voters dropping out of the party finally and the expulsion or reduced visibility of a number of anti-gay and anti-abortion Democratic candidates and elected officials in recent years — an important trend that I looked at in a recent post. Meanwhile, the more socially liberal or socially centrist Democrats in office have begun speaking more loudly and confidently in favor of gay rights and reproductive freedom. This whole process is ongoing, but it’s helping socially liberal base Democrats not feel alienated by loud and offensive conservative Democratic officeholders and underrepresented by those who agree with them.