For days and months ahead, pundits will chew on obdurate Republican Roy Moore’s loss by 1.4 percent in Alabama’s tumultuous Senate race. There were religion angles all over the place in this drama.
Should Moore have ducked reporters, or have vanished from the campaign trail the final week? Did Steve Bannon help or hurt? Is President Donald Trump wounded? Will Chuck Schumer run the Senate come 2019? Did 23,000 write-in votes make the difference, and were they cast by anti-Moore Republicans?
Whatever. The Guy will start off with one thought for all journos, then offer some observations for my fellow religion-beat specialists.
Consider: Has polling turned into astrology? You’d think so when three election-eve polls showed Moore up 9 percentage points (Emerson College), or Democrat Doug Jones up 10 points (Fox News) -- a 19-point difference! -- or a tie if Alabama repeated Virginia’s governor turnout (Monmouth University). (Moore was up 2.2 percent across polls averaged by RealClearPolitics.com).
Of course, pollsters coped with a December special election and a unique one at that. It's pretty clear that some Bible Belt voters don't want to tell pollsters (and journalists) what they want to hear. Many simply refuse to cooperate.
Thus, polling nowadays is iffy, and all scribes should ponder the reasons in this sure-footed explanation by Nate Silver. Click here for that.
Turning to the religion beat, there's an unending quest to comprehend the nation’s largest religious bloc, white evangelicals.