Democratic Faith Gains: Overblown?

obamachurch5.jpgFor 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.


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posted November 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Are you trying to tell us that White Faith voters are more important than non-White Faith voters? I am tired of the Right Wing Evangelicals dissing the rest of Faith based groups. Jesus Christ was a Jew, not a WASP. Now it looks like the only groups the GOP has in hand are either White Neo-Christian Zealots or Bigots. The rest of America split their votes and Obama got the majority of them.
The new minority is the White, conservative Rural and southern. It sounds like the Republican base is the old Dixiecrat base of my youth.

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posted November 5, 2008 at 1:22 pm

You miss the whole point. Jesus Christ was born to a Jewish mother, but he was NOT a Jew. He was and is the son of God. Color, race, political leaning does not now nor 2000 years ago when He lived, have an effect on who He is. He came to die for the sins of ALL, black, white, Jew or gentile. He loves each of us equally.

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posted November 6, 2008 at 10:58 am

I might be reading this wrong, but it sounds like you’re assuming these religious demographics would have moved to Obama anyway absent the outreach. I wouldn’t assume that at all, and I think a closer look reveals more success in Obama’s faith outreach. For one, Obama’s improvement on Kerry’s Catholic numbers impresses because Kerry was Catholic, but didn’t talk about abortion in terms of reduction as Obama did, suggesting that Obama’s outreach on this issue was effective, particularly in light of his struggles with Catholic voters in the primary. Also, Obama made significant gains among white evangelicals in areas where outreach efforts were most robust, and his lack of improvement came in areas that are extremely conservative and documentably more racist. And the narrowing of the frequent-attender gap is especially significant given that frequency of worship attendance is one of the clearest partisan indicators there is.

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Spencer Blakeslee, Ph.D.

posted November 7, 2008 at 7:18 am

I am dismayed that the Pew Foundation does not report out the black evangelical vote seperate from the white evangelical vote. Black evangelicals voted by a margin of 70% in opposition to the California amendment to ban gay marriages. It would be interesting to see the same breakout for the general election given the emphasis the hard-right placed on the Christian-Evangelical vote througout this entire campaign. Thank you.
Spencer Blakeslee, Ph.D.
Boynton Beach, Florida

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Bobby Lima

posted November 9, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Jesus Christ was a fully practicing Jew. Please get your facts straight before you make comments like that. He observed Sabbath, Passover, and all other traditional Jewish practices.

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