Here's a metric you don't see often in polls. An Aug. 25 survey by Public Policy Polling measured Louisiana voters' opinions as to how Louisiana senatorial candidates Charlie Melancon and incumbent David Vitter stacked up when it came to being "a good model of Christian living." Good news for Congressman Melancon (who trails in every poll): 33 percent of respondents said he was "a better representative of Christian values" than Vitter, who was ranked a better Christian by 22 percent.
Overall, 44 percent of Louisiana voters said Vitter was "not a good model" of Christian living (21 percent thought he was), but when the question was winnowed down by party, Vitter's GOP credentials tipped the scale in his favor, albeit barely: 32 percent of Republicans thought he was a good Christian model, while 30 percent said he was not.
Better news for Vitter came from FiveThirtyEight, the political organization whose voting day forecasting was so accurate during the 2008 presidential election that it is now partnered with The New York Times. The same day the "Christianity" poll was released, FiveThirtyEight forecast the likelihood of Vitter's Senate seat turning from red to blue is only 10 percent. For the GOP, the triumph of pragmatism over morality was mirrored in a statement by the group Conservative Christians of Alabama, which told Louisiana voters, "Senator David Vitter has a 100 percent pro-life voting record. Either forgive his past or you get stuck with a liberal." — Kevin Allman