Politics

Gruber Studied Church Attendance’s Impact On Voting

Patrick Howley Political Reporter

MIT professor and Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber conducted a government study to determine whether or not church attendance impacts voter turnout, and whether repealing state laws banning retail commerce on Sundays could diminish voter turnout.

Gruber drew fire after The Daily Caller published a video Monday in which he revealed that certain aspects of Obamacare’s design were concealed from the public because the “stupidity of the American voter” would have killed the law’s chances at passage. (RELATED: Gruber: Lack of Transparency Was Key For Obamacare)

A second video then emerged in which Gruber credited Obamacare’s passage to the American people being “too stupid” to understand it.

Before working for the Obama administration, Gruber focused some of his professional efforts on proving whether or not church-goers vote more.

Gruber authored a 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper with two other professors entitled: “Does Church Attendance Cause People To Vote? Using Blue Laws’ Repeal To Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout.”

“Regular church attendance is strongly associated with a higher probability of voting. It is an open question as to whether this association, which has been confirmed in numerous surveys, is causal,” according to the paper’s abstract.

“We use the repeal of the laws restricting Sunday retail activity [‘Blue laws’] to measure the effects of church-going on political participation,” the paper stated. “The repeal of Blue Laws caused a 5 percent decrease in church attendance. We measure the effect of Blue Laws’ repeal on political participation and find that following the repeal turnout falls by approximately 1 percentage point. This turnout decline, which is statistically significant and fairly robust across model specifications, is consistent with the large effect of church attendance on turnout reported in the literature, and suggests that church attendance may have significant causal influence on voter turnout.”

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