Despite the attention given to religious issues in this year’s presidential race, three public opinion experts have stated that the political force of faith and ethics questions has been overblown. Their assessment was not as blunt as the 1992 dictum “It’s the economy, stupid!,” but they came close.
National security, Iraq and the economy are “more decisive than social issues” for voters as November 2 nears, according to Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for People & the Press. Kohut delivered the verdict in a panel discussion at the four-day Religion Newswriters Association convention in Washington, D.C.
The Catholic vote? “I don’t think Catholics pay any more attention to their leaders’ pronouncements than do Protestants,” said Kohut. He also said he saw one poll indicating that fewer than 50 percent of Catholics knew that the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry, is Catholic.