November 7, 2006
Beware the Polls
No doubt white evangelical support for Republican candidates will drop today compared to 2004 and 2002. But be wary of those polls showing a 20 percent decrease from the astounding 78 percent who backed President Bush in 2004. Midterm and presidential elections already differ dramatically in turnout, fundraising, national focus, etc. How much more, then, will evangelical support change with President Bush not on the ballot, given the affinity so many have felt with him? John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life made this point as we talked about Christianity Today's "Four Races to Watch." According to Pew polling, 68 percent of white evangelicals voted for Republican candidates for Congress in 2002. October 2006 polls show that 57 percent of white evangelicals will back Republicans. No doubt this 11 percent drop could cost Republicans the House and maybe even the Senate. But the change also illustrates that President Bush and the 2004 election should be regarded as more of an anomaly than the norm.