In my last post I referenced a 2010 exit poll which found that people’s views on abortion had little impact on their selection of political candidates.  Other data from the poll, however, may shed some light on why people vote for the parties and candidates that they do.   

In the comments section of a previous post (Opposed to abortion? Your politics may say otherwise) I put forth my opinion that many pro-lifers vote for Democrats out of financial concerns.  Contrary to my theory, however, they did not find that one’s vote had much to do with one’s present economic circumstances.  Indeed, it didn’t even have much to do with their religious affiliation (or lack of one)[1], age[2], gender,[3] or level of education[4] either. 

Those who made less than 30,000 per year were statistically no more likely to vote for a Democrat than those who made $200,000 or more (46%/48%).  Those who are voting Democrat, then, are not necessarily voting Democrat for economic reasons.  People of all common financial levels actually voted for Republicans slightly more often than they voted for Democrats.  

The only significant factors associated with the way one voted was:

  • Declared party affiliation (declared Democrats voted for a Democrat 85% of the time; declared Republicans voted for Republicans 84% of the time; declared independents and those of other parties voted Republican 57% of the time)
  • Their view of President Obama’s performance (73% of those who approved voted Democrat, while 74% of those who disapproved voted Republican)
  • Race (60% of whites voted Republican, 85% of blacks voted Democrat, 54% of Latinos voted Democrat, while Asians were split 50/50)

On the surface, it appears that the way people vote has more to do with their ethnicity and party affiliation than anything else.  If so, then tradition—not issues—may be the best explanation for why people vote for the party and candidates they do.  With the exception of a small minority, we can basically expect for those who have always voted Democrat to always vote Democrat, and for those who have always voted Republican to always vote Republican regardless of the issues and regardless of political performance on the part of their party and candidate.  Political affiliation seems to be inherited more than it is purposely chosen.  It is a tradition rather than a thought-out process involving a serious look at how well a party and their candidates match our personal values.  Christians, it’s time to take a hard look at the issues, and choose our party affiliation and candidates accordingly.  Our vote must be based on the issues, not tradition.  Our vote must be aligned with our declared values, not our longstanding declared political party.


[1]Whatever one’s religious affiliation, 45-49% of those in each category voted Democrat while 51-55% voted Republican.
[2]Regarding age, 54% of 18-29 year olds voted for Democrats, and 42% of those aged 65+ voted for Democrat. For 30-64 year olds, 54% voted Republican.
[3]Regarding gender, 56% of males and 51% of women voted Republican.
[4]Whatever one’s level of education, 45-48% voted Democrat while 52-55% voted Republican.  Indeed, those without a high school diploma were just as likely to vote Democrat as those who have done post-graduate work.