« Readers say Washington Post cartoon lampooned their faith | Main | Obama campaign launching faith tour »

September 18, 2008

Pew Premie?

Here's what Pew has to say about religion in reporting its latest poll on the presidential race:

McCain's support among white evangelical Protestants, a key Republican voter group, has inched up to 71% (Obama is supported by 21% of evangelicals). Based only on voters who express a preference between the two candidates, McCain's lead among evangelicals (77%-23%) is comparable to Bush's final margin among this group (78%-21%). McCain has a small edge among white Catholic voters, 48% to 41%. He also holds a clear lead among white Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly (52% McCain vs. 36% Obama). Four years ago, Bush beat Kerry 61% to 39% among this group.

It sure looks as though this race is reverting to type--i.e. to the 2000 and 2004 pattern--when it comes to religion. Thank Sarah Palin for that.

Specifically, the religion (or God) gap is back to previous levels. Among those who say they attended worship weekly or more, the Republican margin has risen from 10 points in August to 18 points in September. Meanwhile, among those who seldom or never attend, the Democratic margin jumped from 19 to 30. Not surprisingly, the Palin choice pulled all evangelicals toward McCain, and a few white Catholics; while the unaffiliated have shifted even more toward Obama. As in the past, frequent-attending white Mainline Protestants showed themselves less inclined to support GOP candidates who cozy up to evangelicals. Between August and September, McCain's margin among this group was cut nearly in half, from 25 points (57-32) to 14 (53-39).

One caveat, however. Pew's polling took place September 9-14--at the height of the GOP convention (or Palin) bounce. Since then, the polls are showing a reversion to the August status quo ante. In other words, this snapshot may be more of a retrospective than a portrait of what's in store.

(Originally published at Spiritual Politics)

Comments

"One caveat, however. Pew's polling took place September 9-14--at the height of the GOP convention (or Palin) bounce."

I would say that's a major caveat and deserves more than an almost footnote. I think even white evangelical protestants understand what's happening to their pocketbooks right now. Please think people...God gave you a mind for a reason...or should that be God gave you a mind to reason!

Heather,

I am thinking. But please don't insult me with this "even white evangelical protestants ..." stuff. As if we are too simple to understand anything unless it costs us money. Comments like that just cement my own determination to vote in a way you won't like because you (and your candidate) obviously have no respect for me.

Chris, Sorry you seem so sensitive but comments in the original post like: :Not surprisingly, the Palin choice pulled all evangelicals toward McCain, and a few white Catholics; while the unaffiliated have shifted even more toward Obama" kind of make it hard not to stereotype. Actually I identify quite strongly with white evangelical protestant...that's the way I was brought up. Just not in the USA which makes it a little strange to comprehend the alignment between right wing politics and evangelical christianity.

Heather --

I'm with Chris on this one; and he's not being nearly as "sensitive" as you seem to make him out to be. Your admonishment "Please think people" is really rather insulting. Why do you assume that we are *not* thinking when we fail to share your political views?

Here's what I am "thinking" about: the sanctity of life; respect for traditional marriage; genuine compassion for the poor; a solid stand against terrorism; and affordable health care without the intrusion of big Government. These are all non-negotiable issues with me. I find that Mr. Obama actively opposes my convictions on all counts; Mr. McCain supports them. Done deal -- my decision is clear.

I accept that you "identify quite strongly with white evangelical protestant[ism]." No problem. White evangelical protestants are not a monolithic entity, after all. We can and do have our differences, and almost any any honest observer can see that.

Bottom line: I extend to you the grace to come to a different set of convictions than me, without questioning your "reason." Might I receive the same from you?