Janice Shaw Crouse

The political pundits dismiss Huckabee’s big win at the Iowa Caucus last week, explaining that Huckabee won only because of the Evangelical vote, and he won’t be able to win anywhere else because his appeal is limited to Evangelicals. The conventional wisdom — repeated ad nauseum — is that Huckabee won because he played the “Christian leader” card, so Evangelicals came out in droves to vote for him in the first caucus in the presidential campaign.

A close reading of the exit poll data used by the major news networks reveals that Evangelicals are far more politically sophisticated than the stereotypes being perpetuated through the media.

Author and commentator Michael Medved studied the details of the exit poll data and found that most commentators apparently didn’t bother to read beyond the headlines and did not bother to study the complete poll results. Even though enough time has passed that diligent reporters could have analyzed the exit polls, they apparently have not done so. Other articles and television commentaries since the Iowa caucus reveal sheep-like tendencies among the pundits, who are all saying the same inaccurate things and repeating the same erroneous mantras.

It’s past time to report what Michael Medved’s analysis of the exit poll data reveal:

Evangelicals are not a monolithic entity. Contrary to media coverage that assumes all Evangelicals vote alike, Evangelicals in the Iowa Caucus supported a wide range of policies and candidates. While 46 percent of Evangelicals voted for Huckabee, more than half of them (54 percent) split their vote among the four other candidates (Romney, McCain, Thompson and Paul). Huckabee benefited from the Evangelical vote, but his support was much broader and deeper than one voting segment.

Evangelicals did not evidence anti-Mormon bigotry. While it is true that a majority of Evangelicals (81 percent) voted against Romney, a majority of ALL Iowa Republicans (75 percent) voted against him — only slightly less than the number of Evangelicals. Further, while Evangelicals spread out their votes among all the candidates, Romney got more than the others. In fact, Medved reported that among Evangelicals, Mitt beat out McCain, Thompson and Paul by two-to-one.

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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