Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Perhaps you saw this, from Gallup:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the field of possible GOP presidential candidates in "positive intensity" among Republicans nationwide with a score of +25 among Republicans who are familiar with him, followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota with a score of +20....

Gallup asks Republicans whether they recognize each potential candidate and, for each one they recognize, whether they have a strongly favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or strongly unfavorable opinion of that person. Gallup calculates a "Positive Intensity Score" for each person rated, based on the difference between strongly favorable and strongly unfavorable opinions among those who are familiar with him or her....

Notice anything about the top five?

Every one of them is a demonstrative member of the Protestant or Catholic religious right. Huckabee you know about. Bachmann consorts with the religious right on a regular basis. Gingrich is now a right-wing Catholic who's shilling a book and a DVD titled Rediscovering God in America. Palin has been protected from witches by prayer on the altar of her church. Santorum, of course, wears his religion on his sleeve -- going out of his way to make sure Peggy Noonan knew he prayed the rosary for his opponent in his last Senate race, boasting to the media that his wife's miscarried fetus was brought home so his family could pray for it, et cetera.

I'm not saying that all these folks are known as God-botherers first and foremost. But notice how they all cluster at the top, and notice who trails them: Romney, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Paul, Barbour, Daniels, Johnson. All Mormons or non-Mormon Christians, none of them known for wearing their faith on their sleeves (though Pawlenty's trying really hard lately).

I don't know for sure what this means. I suspect it may be more of a cultural than a religious thing -- maybe it's that Republicans want you to be 100% certain that everything you believe is 100% right, and the second tier's lukewarmness on religion is a sign that they don't think they have all the answers, or are just a bunch of liberal sophisticate moral relativists. In any case, it's curious, and it's one more sign that the Establishment types who are waiting for one of their own to grab the nomination may be living in a dream world.

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