Paul, I never suggested that moral-issue voters weren?t a critical part of the GOP coalition. My point was that their importance did not change in 2004 vs. 2000. They played roughly the same role in the election both times, and this has been confirmed since I first wrote about the issue by the release of a lot more state-specific data. Higher turnout among evangelicals, for example, was accompanied by higher turnout among secular left-leaning voters, such that the proportions changed little.
Thus, everything else being equal, Bush would have tied or lost without a swing of voters motivated by other things (foreign policy, mainly) from the D column to the R column. As a simple matter of mathematics, any defection or weakening of a GOP bloc ? the hawks, the cultural conservatives, the free-marketeers, etc. ? would likely have spelled defeat for Bush and the party.
We discussed the Pew survey here in the Locker Room a while back. Maggie Gallagher did not emphasize what I think was most noteworthy about the survey, which involved its open-ended question. Whenever you provide respondents with a list of options, you are inevitably forcing them into boxes that they might not choose for themselves.