…who needs enemies?
Research about the Republican Party in the U.S.
Political observers have long assumed the Republican Party suffers from a religious cleavage. The religious, or Christian, right forms one wing of the party, while the more traditional Rockefeller Republicans comprise the other. This paper examines the nature and extent of this division within the electorate. The analysis, which uses logistic regression to inspect data from VNS Exit Polls (1996 and 1998), suggest that Republicans in the South do make electoral distinctions based on both their own identification (or lack of identification) as a religious rightist, as well as the nature of the candidates from which they choose. Traditional Republicans are less likely to vote for their party’s candidates if that candidate is closely connected with the religious right, while religious right Republicans vote for Republican candidates at similar rates regardless of the candidate’s connection with the religious right. This regional cleavage may have dramatic ramifications for the Republican Party’s ability to maintain, or even increase, its dominance in the South and across the country.