Results! The Gap

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It will be widely noted that the God Gap, as measured by the partisan preference of frequent (weekly or more often) worship attenders, shrank from 20 points in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections to 12 points this time around. And some may be inclined to credit this year’s focus on religious outreach by Obama and the DNC for what happened. But in fact, the shift occurred in the 2006 midterm elections. Then, what had been a 20-point preference by frequent attenders for GOP congressional candidates in 2000 and 2004 shrank to 13 points. Meanwhile, the gap among less frequent attenders bumped up from 13 points for Democratic candidates in 2004 to 25 points in 2006–the same territory as the 23 percent of less frequent attenders who went for Obama. Measured in terms of comparing frequent and less frequent attenders, then, the God Gap remains as big as ever, just with both the former and the latter both more Democratically inclined than they were in 2000-2004.