Conventional thinking among social scientists has had it wrong. Conservative religious people do not struggle between following their faith and economic issues. There is a seamless religious path to voting against there own interests.
To most of these voters, voting against their own interests is effortless. That’s because economic policy is not guided by politics or policy makers, it is guided by God. There is no reason to think they are not getting a fair shake because God’s plan is being carried out.
In the heads of such folks, God is actively guiding the economy. That the rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer is of no concern because God has his reasons. The idea their own votes for tax policies caused this does not compete well with the idea God placed it there.
This makes sense because a god exists in the mind only. Because of this, the god is concerned with whatever the mind is concerned with. When the mind is preoccupied with, for example, a dislike for gays, the god is preoccupied with the same thing.
Thus, when the conservative Christian decides how to vote, he hears the god telling him to vote on the basis of social issues, what he and his god have been thinking about. They have not been thinking about his best economic interests. The tradition social scientist misses the power of the invisible.
In the 1930′s, voters minds went secular. Living on beans changed the god’s mind.
One day it may happen again.