Pollsters and pundits have argued for some time that there is a "God gap" in American politics, with church-attending traditionalists aligning against believers and nonbelievers with modern sensibilities. But recently some commentators have suggested that the gap is closing and may even disappear. Following the election of Barack Obama, there was little discussion of religion-suggesting that religious factors had played little, if any, role in his election. Yet the campaign was full of religious stories, from John McCain's reconciliation with the leaders of the Christian right, to the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to Sarah Palin's appeal to religious conservations.
In this book, a team of scholars puts the disappearing "God gap" argument to the test by examining the role of religion in the historic 2008 presidential election. They take the long view, placing the election in historical context and looking at the campaigns from the primaries all the way through to Election Day. At the heart of their analysis is a national survey they conducted, in which voters were interviewed in the spring of 2008 and the re-interviewed after the election. The Disappearing God Gap? reveals that the role of religion in American presidential elections is hardly disappearing-it continues to structure vote choices, and it will likely continue to do so-but that the "God gap" may be slowly changing, in some astonishing ways.