After taking a close look at the Powerline post Charles linked below, I’m more convinced than ever that our initial read on “That L.A. Times Poll” was correct. Money quotes from the poll report itself:
Indeed, the report (but not the story) acknowledges that “there is nothing to indicate that numbers such as these, while certainly indicative of a basic level of resistance, are a real barrier to legitimate candidacy.” In addition, the report (but not the story) states that there is no evidence “to infer that a candidate’s religion would trump other important voter criteria such as trust, charisma, shared values…or the candidate’s stand on [issues].”
Exactly. But of course, some of us have been saying that all along. The truly interesting question here is why? Why the bad reporting? Why did the L.A. Times broadcast its poll as terrible news for Gov. Romney when their own poll report qualifies its results so heavily? While Gov. Romney has had a tremendous last six months, he is hardly the Republican front-runner (at least according to the early polls). Why the hit piece?
I think the answer lies in the way the MSM thinks about faith and politics. They see a serious contender for the presidency who is a social conservative by deep conviction (read: faith), and they almost instinctively dislike him. Here is the crucial point: Whether you are evangelical, Catholic, orthodox Jewish, or Mormon, if you are a person of faith who opposes the radical left agenda on abortion, stem cells, or same-sex marriage, you are all the same to the mainstream media.
I’ll say it again (another way). When it comes to politics, our theological differences–however profound they may be–mean absolutely nothing, especially to the left. All they see are people of deep religious conviction whose beliefs lead them to take positions the left considers intolerant or bigoted. If evangelicals reject the single-most effective and gifted social conservative leader in the race because we don’t like his faith, we may think we’ve successfully sharpened the differences between the candidates, but all the left will see is fratricide.