As you probably already know, many Americans spent this past weekend under the impression that the Rapture was going to occur. Folks were led to this belief by an end-times huckster named Harold Camping, who claims to have divined the precise schedule of the end of the world from the Bible, despite the fact that the people who wrote the Bible thought the earth was flat and had no concept of time-zones. Camping had previously led people to think the world was going to end in 1988 and in 1994; he now says that it will end in October.
Obviously, Harold Camping is a bad man who convinced hundreds of people to give him all their money and upend their livelihoods on the fraudulent notion that they'd be better off strategically defaulting on their entire lives, but none of that matters! Not when there are "electoral implications" to consider and organizations that are willing to poll on just about anything! Enter Public Policy Polling, who decided "to figure out how big of a political game changer the rapture would be."
First off -- no one really believed the Rapture was going to happen last weekend, or at least they won't admit it. Just 2% of voters say they thought that was coming on Saturday to 98% who say they did not. It's really close to impossible to ask a question on a poll that only 2% of people say yes to. A national poll we did in September 2009 found that 10% of voters thought Barack Obama was the Anti-Christ, or at least said they thought so. That 2% number is remarkably low.
That's a good enough sign that maybe they should stop right there, but, whatever, now my curiosity is piqued. What would happen to the election if something that will never happen happened to happen?
If the true believers who think the Rapture will happen in their lifetime are correct -- and they're the ones who had the strongest enough faith to get taken up into heaven -- then that's going to be worth a 2-5 point boost to Obama's reelection prospects. That's because while only 6% of independents and 10% of Democrats think the Rapture will happen during their lifetime, 16% of Republicans do. We always talk about demographic change helping Democrats with the rise of the Hispanic vote, but if the Rapture occurs it would be an even more immediate boost to Democratic electoral prospects.
Terrific! God is, as you probably always suspected, a member of the New Black Panther Party.
PPP goes on to say that if Rapture-cranks are both right about the Rapture and correct in their assumption that they are the only Americans that Jesus loves, Obama's seven point lead over Romney becomes a nine point lead. So, wow: crazy significant!
My favorite part: "Palin is the only person we tested on this poll who is actually popular with people who think the Rapture is going to happen." I'm quite sure this will come to the surprise of precisely nobody.