Despite Obama’s Lead, God Gap’s as Wide as Ever

Pew is out with new numbers tracking which religious groups (Beliefnet might call ’em tribes) are preferring which presidential candidate when over the last few months. What strikes God-o-Meter is how little movement there’s been among candidate preferences in the last four years.

There’s been little movement among white evangelicals:


God-o-Meter’s gotta wonder why all the news stories about evangelicals–particularly younger ones–growing less beholden to the Republican Party isn’t translating into less support for the Republican nominee than has historically been the case.


Sure, McCain doesn’t match Bush’s 78-support among white evangelicals, but that’s not a fair comparison. Bush worked hard to cultivate white born agains and tried to sell himself as one of them. McCain hasn’t done either.

White Mainline Protestants, meanwhile, are splitting their votes evenly between the two nominees, just like in 2004. Here’s what the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life’s post-’04 Election analysis said about that:

Mainline Protestants, considered a strong Republican constituency, divided their votes evenly between President George W. Bush and challenger John Kerry, producing the highest level of support for a Democratic presidential candidate in recent times from that religious group.


Here’s the new Pew chart:


Among white Catholics, McCain has opened a significant lead, same as happened in 2004:


Obama enjoys overwhelming support among traditional Democratic constituencies like black Protestatns and non-religiously affilated voters. The Pew numbers have McCain on top with a seven-point lead, largely thanks to black Protestants and non-religiously affiliated voters, but Obama’s attempts to close the God Gap among white religious voters haven’t gotten very far. a remarkable testament to the resilience of the God gap.


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