- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

HALLELUJAH

Oh, ye of big faith. Like, really big faith. The largest single constituency in the electorate in the midterm elections was “self-identified evangelicals,” who comprised 29 percent of the vote and cast a hefty 78 percent of their ballots for Republican candidates, according to new findings from the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Turnout by conservative folks of faith was up by 5 percent over 2006 - the largest ever recorded in a midterm election, the group says. The survey also found that 52 percent of all “tea party” members are conservative evangelicals; 57 percent also say both lawmakers and political leaders are “ignoring our religious heritage.” The survey of 1,000 voters was conducted Nov. 2.

“People of faith turned out in the highest numbers in a midterm election we have ever seen, and they made an invaluable contribution to the historic results,” says Ralph Reed, chairman of the 400,000-member group. “This survey, along with numerous exit polls, makes clear that those who ignore or disregard social conservative voters and their issues do so at their own peril.”

And just so you know. The demographic already has a name - “Teavangelicals” - this coined by CBN News correspondent David Brody. Meanwhile, evangelist Billy Graham turns 92 on Sunday. Mr. Graham observes, “I am amazed every time I think of how many years the Lord has given me on this earth. I am grateful for His blessing on our ministry for more than six decades, but wonder if there is something more He has for me to accomplish.”

HOW’D THEY DO?

The cable news networks, that is. They ruled election coverage, in all its hair-raising, leg-tingling glory. From Nielsen Media Research audience numbers from 8 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday : Fox News Channel (6.9 million viewers), CNN (2.4 million viewers), MSNBC (1.9 million viewers). A Fox News spokeswoman says the network’s ratings are up 128 percent compared with the 2006 midterms, when Fox drew about 3 million viewers.

ADVANCE OBIT

“Voters have given Republicans one more chance to get it right. They are on probation, and if they mess up again, they won’t get another chance,” says conservative maven Richard A. Viguerie, who has often cautioned the party to avoid fancy footwork among lobbyists and stay in touch with their Ronald Reagan roots.

“The Democrats under President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drove millions of voters right back into the arms of the Republicans. But if Republicans return to their bad habits - if they start working for K Street instead of Main Street - they will pay a terrible price,” Mr. Viguerie adds. “People will say: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, and the Republican Party is dead.”

WEEKLY NUMBERS

$4 billion: How much political candidates spent on campaign advertising in 2010

$2.8 billion: How much they spent during the 2006 midterms.

17,148: Number of times the word “shellacking” occurred in news coverage on Wednesday.

459: Number of days left until the Iowa caucuses begin.

50: Number of shopping days until Christmas.

5: Number of days before former President George W. Bush’s memoir actually reaches bookshelves.

Sources: Center for Responsive Politics and Google News

MORE THAN FRIENDS

Run for the hills. Facebook is getting all serious about the political implications of its ventures, with an official “Facebook political team” tallying all the assorted “likes” and popular followings among candidates in 98 heavily contested races on Tuesday. The social media depot now claims that three-fourths of the candidates with the numerable “friends” won their races. Maybe this makes them on par with the late Paul the Octopus, also a canny predictor.

“A 70 percent or higher success rate is nothing to sneeze at. Of course, now that this news is out, it’ll probably turn into another meaningless metric as candidates and social-media experts gear up to game the system next time around,” observes Advertising Age analyst Ken Wheaton.

OO-RAH, HOOAH, HOOYAH

Three cheers for National Defense University Foundations American Patriot Award Gala to honor Defense Department Secretary Robert M. Gates and 50 young, active duty members from each branch of the service, selected by their commanders based on “character and dedication to country.” Some 600 guests will gather at the Ronald Reagan Building on Friday evening, including U.S. Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; David L. Boren, former U.S. senator from Oklahoma; and South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Duk-soo.

There will be golden eagles onstage, blue and gold linens, red roses and sunflowers on the tables. Guests will tuck into wild watercress salad, sturgeon fillet and tenderloin of beef, yam and yellow potato gratin, leek and pear fondue, plus pinot grigio and pinot noir. And dessert? The patriots get “chocolate milkshake mousse pyramid cake with malted milk crunch and morello cherry compote,” a source says.

POLL DU JOUR

- 59 percent of likely voters say it’s probable Americans will be “disappointed with Republicans in Congress” before 2012.

- 33 percent say the voters will be satisfied with Republicans.

- 54 percent of Republicans say it’s not likely that voters will be disappointed by their party.

- 81 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of unaffiliated voters disagree.

- 53 percent say it’s likely Republicans will “do what they promised” in their Pledge to America.

- 50 percent said the Pledge was a “campaign gimmick.”

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Nov. 1 and 2.

- Exit polls, caterwaul, mousse cake to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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