Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Biblical Literalism and Political Conservatism

Years ago, I posted a few thoughts on the rough shape of the Bible Belt in modern America.  I'd like to update those those just a bit relative to the 2012 election.  Here is the map based on the same Pew data as before:

As before, I've removed (grayed out) the bits of CONUS in which scriptural literalism falls below the 30% threshold.  What is left is what I would call the 'Bible Belt' based on relevant data from social scientists. 

Now, take a hard look at this map. Are any states which the incumbent President can reasonably expect to win in November which fall inside of the Bible Belt as I've defined it here? The answer depends on which polls you're tracking and what day or the week it is, but it's basically down to Virginia, Ohio, and maybe Florida, and each of these is pretty much a toss-up.  Every other Bible Belt state (and a few extras) are firmly in the GOP camp, while most of the Northeast, West Coast, and Great Lakes states are as firmly in the other column.

The conclusion is ineluctable and disturbing: The political lines dividing our country are not merely a function of demography and political ideology, but also a matter of how one approaches religious faith. Generally speaking, the more likely one is to accept the Bible as literally true, word for word, the more likely one is to vote Republican.  I'd be interested in hearing any theories as to why this might be so.