hillary.jpgAt the outset, let God-o-Meter note that George Barna, the country’s pre-eminent evangelical pollster–in both the sense that he’s an evangelical and that polling evangelicals is his specialty–takes an expansive view of who’s a born again Christian. That means his polls show born-agains as much less Republican than almost all other polls. (Barna defines “evangelicals” as a narrower, much more conservative subset). That said, Barna’s report this morning that Hillary Clinton is the leading candidate among born again voters is still eye-popping:

If the election were held today, and all of the remaining candidates from both parties were on the ballot, the frontrunners among born again voters would be Hillary Clinton (favored by 20% of born again likely voters), Barack Obama (18%) and Mike Huckabee (12%). No other candidate reached double figures. Thirty percent of the born again likely voters said they were still undecided as to who they would choose.

According to Barna’s records, these are the same born-agains who backed George W. Bush over John Kerry 62-percent to 38-percent in 2004 and who preferred Bush to Al Gore in 2000 by a decisive 57-percent to 42-percent margin.
And Barna’s report includes more bad news for the GOP: The smaller evangelical subset, the Republican Party’s base, remains remarkably restive:

If the election were held today, only 45% of evangelicals say they would support the Republican nominee for president, and 11% would support the Democratic representative. Most significant is that a whopping 40% of evangelicals are undecided. This is extraordinary, given that 62% of evangelicals voted for the Republican candidate in 1992, 67% did so in 1996, along with 67% in 2000 and 85% in 2004.


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