Terry Eastland also has something to say on Kerry and religion. He looks at whether Edwards will help Kerry overcome the religion gap.
AMONG THE LEAST REMARKED aspects of John Edwards’s résumé is that he is a Protestant, a Methodist in particular, a member of Edenton Street Methodist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Edwards’s faith was not, strictly speaking, the reason John Kerry chose him as his running mate. On the other hand, religion was not an irrelevant consideration. Kerry is running a “values” campaign, and a value he wants to emphasize is faith.
The reason for the emphasis is apparent. There now exists a “religion gap” that disfavors Democrats, though it is more accurate to call it a “church-attendance gap.” The gap lies in exit-poll and survey data showing that voters (other than black Protestants) who go to church services at least once a week tend to favor Republicans by wide margins.
The same gap can be seen from another angle, of course, since those who go less often, or not at all, tend to support Democrats. But because regular attendees are more likely to turn out on Election Day, they are deemed of more value in the eyes of political strategists (though not, one must hope, of pastors and priests).