it's a fundamental election not economic

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    The Los Angeles Times has a story today that explains why this election is so much more emotionally charged than previous ones. It is not about economics, but part of a cultural war.

    A new LA Times poll shows Bush doing well among lower and middle income whites, whereas Kerry leads among whites earning more than $100,000 a year despite his promise to roll back the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 a year.

    As president, Bush has enacted big tax cuts for the rich but the rich are voting for Kerry. What's up here?

    The same poll shows that 2/3 of the people who attend a house of worship at least once a week are voting for Bush, whereas 60% of those who attend religious services less than once a week are voting for Kerry, in part because these voters recoil at Bush's constant use of religious imagery.

    Lower income whites like Bush's proposal to ban gay marriage but only a quarter believe his policies have been good for the economy. In contrast, affluent whites who have benefitted the most from the Bush tax cuts believe Bush's policies have hurt the economy.

    In short, far more than in previous years, economic policy is taking a back seat to cultural issues. The real divide seems to be between deeply religious lower income, lower education, voters living in small towns and rural areas who have conservative values on abortion and gay marriage versus higher income, higher education, secular, urban voters who have progressive views on cultural issues.

    Maybe James Carville was wrong: It's NOT the economy, stupid. With this background and the fact that eight of the nine Supreme Court justices are past the traditional retirement age of 65 and four of them have been treated for cancer, it is likely that the choice of who the next president will nominate to the Court will weigh increasingly heavily on the minds of many voters as we approach election day.
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