Most of us don’t need polls to tell us what we already know: America is increasingly divided. But where, exactly, are those splits — and what’s driving them? What Pew Research found might surprise you.
It’s no secret that white evangelicals are overwhelmingly Republican, but what is news is how much that percentage has grown. A larger swath of evangelicals than ever is identifying with or leaning toward the GOP: 77 percent at Pew’s last count. That’s a 16-point increase since 1994. But what’s raised even more eyebrows may be the large defection of white Catholics from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Today, the Republicans’ share of the white Catholic vote is 54 percent, compared to 45 percent two and a half decades. Obviously, the Obama-era attacks on conscience, taxpayer-funded abortion, and faith-based groups like Catholic Charities is having a major impact on the voting trends of this once heavily-Democratic population.
Democrats are also reaping one of the only rewards of their anti-faith crusade — a larger share of the religiously unaffiliated vote. It seems that kicking God out of their platform and declaring war on religious freedom made the party more appealing to these small, but growing, number of Americans. “Religiously unaffiliated voters, who made up just eight percent of the electorate two decades ago, now constitute about a quarter (24 percent) of all registered voters,” Pew points out.
Obviously, social media shows us every day just how polarized America has become. But there may also be a growing gap between the two political parties that wasn’t nearly as pronounced as it is now. In the last 17 years, researchers have noticed a big uptick in the percentages of people who identify as “conservative” or “liberal” within their party — a 10-point jump for Republicans and an even bigger leap, 18 points, for Democrats. Conservatives still dominate the Republican Party (making up 68 percent) more than liberals dominate the Democratic Party (who make up 46 percent), but the factions within both are climbing — and fast.
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Another area of Pew’s survey that’s incredibly significant is the sharp rise in college Democrats. When you look at the voters who’ve gotten their degrees, a majority of them (58 percent) identify as Democrat. There was a time, not too long ago, when that number was split right down the middle. Now, it seems more obvious than ever why liberals are fighting to control speech on college campuses. Apparently, these are their most productive recruiting centers! In public schools, the groundwork has already been laid for the intense indoctrination teenagers experience when they leave for college.
What can parents do about that? A lot. The Left doesn’t want you to know what a tremendous influence you can have on the future of America by raising your children to know Christ. First, we have to start at home by teaching our children the truths of Scripture — not just Bible stories, but the truths of God’s Word. As moms and dads, we need to live those truths out and model them at home to our kids. Then, when they’re ready to leave the nest, let’s try to invest in education that affirms what we stand for. If you can, send them to Christian universities and colleges that have a biblical foundation — not to liberal campuses that will only undermine the values you’ve been teaching.
The media would love to say that Pew’s survey is another death rattle for the GOP, that its evangelical support is tapped out. But nothing could be further from the truth. As more evangelicals live up to their name and share their faith, more hearts and minds will change. Our numbers will continue to grow as people begin to live differently and look at the world differently. And that includes their political engagement. Our faith is transformative. If anything, that’s how we secure America’s future.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.