Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Twelve Tribes of Politics


Steve Waldman of Beliefnet.com and University of Akron's John Green offer their latest "12 Tribes" analysis of politics, which focuses on the political beliefs of twelve different categories of religious belief and practice:

Moral issues are dramatically less important this year than in previous years – even among the most religiously observant voters, according to the 2008
edition of the Twelve Tribes of American Politics.

Just 13% listed social issues first, half the number who did in the summer of 2004. 61% listed the economy first compared to 32% in 2004.

The Twelve Tribes were introduced in 2004 as a collaboration between Beliefnet and John Green of the Bliss Institute at University of Akron, based on the National Surveys of Religion and Politics. The premise: most political reporting acted as if there were two groups – the Religious Right and Everyone Else. So we crafted a new set of groupings, inspired by the twelve tribes of Biblical Israel, but formed
around similarities in religious beliefs and practice.

The 2008 Twelve Tribes survey, conducted from June-August, also found:

  • A massive shift among Latino Protestants is what has fueled the hugely important move of Hispanics to the Democratic Party (more).


  • The centrist Tribes – Convertible Catholics, Whitebread Protestants and Moderate Evangelicals – have moved to the left on some social issues but have become more suspicious of government spending programs. Republicans remain strong with these groups groups (more).


Read it all here. You can also find the McCain-Obama breakdown, the full survey results, the methodology or Steven Waldman's full analysis.

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