mccain3.jpgMark Stricherz from Get Religion just emailed God-o-Meter to take issue with its piece on John McCain’s evangelical troubles. Here’s what he writes:

[Y]our thesis about McCain’s electoral woes is overstated. Check out these polls from RealClearPolitics. In head-to-head matchups with Clinton, McCain is ahead by almost two percentage points. In head-to-head matchups with Obama, he is running less than 1 percentage point behind. This is no temporary phenomenon, either. Just consider the recent history of presidential elections since the demise of the Democrats’ New Deal coalition after 1968. Republicans have won six of the nine presidential elections.

But if the election is to be that close–within 2-percentage points–isn’t it even more important that the Republican nominee’s base is activated, especially as Democrats set wild new turnout records in this winter’s primaries? As David Barton, the Republican National Committee’s 2004 point man for evangelical pastor outreach, told me:

As close as recent presidential races have been, where the 2004 Bush win of 51-percent to 38 over Kerry was considered a landslide, I find it difficult to believe that that anyone can win without the help of what has been between 35 and 40-percent of the Republican base.”

God-o-Meter tends to agree. In tight races, turnout matters. And if the evangelicals and other pro-lifers, the workhorses of the GOP, won’t make phone calls and knock on doors for McCain, who will?


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