For all the time, money, and effort that Democrats and their liberal allies spent trying to move the faithful into their column–particularly the white faithful–it seems that they have relatively little to show for it, despite Obama’s decisive victory. Yes, Obama narrowed the God Gap. He took 44-percent of weekly churchgoers, compared to 35-percent for John Kerry in 2004.
But most of the narrowing appears to have come at the hands of minority voters, the ones that have historically formed the Democratic party base, rather than the white religious voters that the Obama campaign and its faith-based allies wooed so strenuously.
Among white Catholics, Obama fared only slightly better than Kerry, winning 46-percent compared to 43-percent for the 2004 Democratic nominee. Among white evangelicals, Obama won 25-percent, compared to Kerry’s 21-percent. While these are improvements over the Democratic showing four years ago, it’s important to remember that Bush was an aberration. He formed a special bond with evangelicals and organized an unprecedented religious outreach campaign that targeted white Catholics in a major way.
When seen that way, Obama’s success narrowing the God Gap is more of a return to the traditional levels of support for a Democratic nominee that predated Bush’s standout 2004 performance. It’s difficult to provide hard numerical evidence of that because of the way faith-related questions were asked in exit polls prior to 2004 and because of the way those polls was provided, but religious scholars like John Green of University of Akron say they suspect this was the case.