September 19, 2008
Obama's evangelical outreach not working, survey shows
Barack Obama has made few inroads into the evangelical vote compared to 2004, according to a study released at the Religion Newswriters Association conference today.
As a group, evangelicals favor McCain over Obama 57.2 percent to 19.9 percent as a group, which is similar to the support they gave to Bush (60.4%) and Kerry (19.6%) in 2004.
In the study, John Green of the University of Akron reported evangelicals' support for McCain depending on their category: traditionalist (71.6%), centrist (53.9%), and modernist (35.6%).
Nearly half (45.6%) of evangelicals listed economics as a top priority for in deciding their vote. 22 percent listed foreign policy and 20.4 percent listed social issues as top priorities. Green said that opinions on abortion have not changed since 2004.
"Although social issues are less important, they continue to resonate in the evangelical community," said Green, who is also the senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "The Obama campaign has not yet been able to overcome that."
Thirty-seven percent of evangelicals preferred McCain strongly in the survey, which was conducted before Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen as his running mate.