An Associated Press headline declares “Poll: Fewer See Dems As Religion-Friendly.”

Democrats’ efforts to improve their image with religious voters after the 2004 presidential election appear to be getting off to a bumpy start.

Fewer people see Democrats as friendly to religion now than felt that way a year ago, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

That number has dropped from 40 percent in August 2004 who thought the Democrats were friendly to religion to 29 percent now.

Associated Press: Poll: Fewer See Dems As Religion-Friendly

This is true. The poll cited does make this finding, but it says other things too. If one wanted to isolate one question from this poll and make a report of it, it could just as easily have been headlined: “Poll: More Americans think Bush Mentions Faith and Prayer Too Much” (Maybe that’s too cumbersome a headline. But I’m new at this.)

Such a report could go on to say “That number has increased from 14 percent in July 2003 who thought Bush mentions faith and prayer too much to 28 percent now.”

Neither the AP article, nor my impromptu attempt, tell the whole story of the poll’s findings. The full report from the Pew Center is entitled “Religion A Strength And Weakness For Both Parties

Is it not possible to value a strict separation of church and state and be ‘religion friendly’? I suppose it’s in the way you express it. John Kerry somehow seemed better at it than Howard Dean, for example. I think the problem lies more in the ongoing ‘Reps=values, Dems=anti-religion’ meme prevalent in our political discourse and perpetuated in the media.

Politics Democrats Not Seen as Religion Friendly