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Christians and Obama: Barna’s Newest Study

posted by Scot McKnight

George Barna, who surveys American religious trends, has a new study on how satisfied Christians are with President Obama.

In the 2008 election, 42% of all born again adults voted for Barack Obama. The born again vote represented 40% of his aggregate support in the general election.

 
Job Satisfaction
Most Americans are not satisfied with the job the president is doing. Currently, just 42% are either completely satisfied (15%) or somewhat satisfied (27%). One-quarter of adults (24%) are divided, saying they are “somewhat satisfied and somewhat dissatisfied.” The remaining 30% are either “mostly dissatisfied (13%) or “somewhat dissatisfied” (17%). Only a few (4%) don’t know how to assess the president’s job performance.

The picture is less rosy when looking at the ratings given to the president by committed Christians. Among evangelicals, only 18% are satisfied (just 6% are “completely satisfied”) while 69% are dissatisfied (including 38% who are “completely dissatisfied”). Among all born again Christians – one-fifth of whom are evangelicals and four-fifths of whom are not – the ratings are not quite as scathing, but are notably worse than those provided by non-Christian adults: 35% are satisfied and 36% are dissatisfied. Among adults who are not born again the president fares much better, with such people twice as likely to be satisfied as dissatisfied (48% satisfied, 24% are not).


When political affiliations and faith commitments are merged, the numbers are also quite diverse. A majority of registered Republicans (55%) are born again. Among them, only 9% are satisfied with President Obama’s performance to date, compared to 67% who are not. That rating is slightly less positive than the 15% satisfaction and 58% dissatisfaction found among Republicans who are not born again.

The picture is decidedly different among Democrats, among whom 47% are born again. Among born again Democrats, President Obama has satisfied 62% and dissatisfied 10%. That is not quite as upbeat a view as held by Democrats who are not born again, 76% of whom are satisfied and 8% of whom are dissatisfied.

Independent voters are notably less pleased with the president, regardless of their faith leanings. Thirty-seven percent are born again, the lowest proportion of born again adults found among the three partisan affiliations. Among the born again Independents, 25% are satisfied and 38% dissatisfied. Among the Independents who are not born again, 44% are satisfied and 21% are dissatisfied



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Jon Rising

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm


As to the substance of the Obama administration thus far, count me among the dissatisfied.
As to matters of style, it is particularly vexing that the president loves to level the charge that, “The other side is just playing politics,” when, in fact, the president loves to play that game, as well.
For instance, his persistent use of the straw man: “Well, if you don’t want to implement my agenda, you MUST be in favor of ….”
There are more than two points on the continuum, Mr. President.



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brandontmilan

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm


so… Christians are hard to please? is that what we’re getting at?



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Richard

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm


nice #2. I’d say I’m dissatisfied with the impasse on anything and everything in our government right now and I’m glad that Obama is calling people out,including those in his own party.



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Dan

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm


Im very dissatisfied with Obama. I am a christian, though I wouldn’t say I’m very hard to please. However, when Obama says unemployment will not go above a certain number if we passed a massive bill, then I expect him to take responsibility. I want him to admit he was wrong.
Also, when he says the heathcare bill will be written and debated on Cspan, then its all done behind closed doors, it makes me wonder what he is hiding that he does not want the american people to see. When he cannot get his own party on board to pass his bill, tells me something is wrong with it. I don’t believe its because I’m “hard to please”.



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:mic

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm


I have my political preferences.
More importantly, however, is his desire that federal funds will support abortions. This, coupled with an end-of-life counseling that further diminishes the sanctity of life, demands that I stand firmly in his (and everyone else on this path) way. It is a Christian commitment. Some Christians do not have this commitment, which is abundantly sad.



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AHH

posted February 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm


Well, I guess the previous couple of comments tell us what sort of elements come out of the woodwork when a post has “Obama” in the title.
But what are these results supposed to show? A lot of people (including some who voted for Obama) are disappointed with the way things have gone, for various reasons. And I balk at taking seriously any survey where the category is phrased as “born again” which has connotations such that I don’t tend to use it to describe my own Christian faith.



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Steve

posted February 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm


I am a Christian and am satisfied with the president’s job performance and efforts. I am frustrated that even a Democratic majority Congress has not followed his lead enough on important issues.



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jason dye

posted February 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm


Wait. Is this where we’re all supposed to chime in by saying that we’re Christians and we think Obama is _This_ or _That_?
Whatever… Give the man a couple years, people…



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AHH

posted February 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm


So nobody reading the comments will think I was referring to Dan or :mic, I see that the couple of preceding nasty comments (even worse than most Tea Party rhetoric) I was referring to in my comment (which is now #6) have been deleted.



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nlswitz

posted February 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm


I am please so far with Obama’s leadership. I wish that the majority of us Americans could get beyond the name calling and find ways to work together. It is not a sign of weakness to seek compromise as a way forward, but that does not seem to be the way of Washington lately. I do not blame our president for this.
As to how much he has been able to accomplish in one year, I think about how much any of us accomplish in a year… it is not really that much time, especially when there is such a large contingent of people seeking to oppose anything just to oppose it. For instance the debt commission was a Republican idea until Obama proposed it. The stimulus had tax cuts and the new jobs bill is largely tax cuts… all Republican “ideas” but opposed because… why?
I still believe, however, that as Christians we can model ways to work beyond our differences… to listen to one another, to love one another – especially our enemies (political enemies are God’s children too).



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Ed

posted February 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm


As a Christian, I try to avoid judging the motives of other people. I believe the President is working on good faith and trying to do what he thinks is the best for our country. Of course I do not agree in many things (abortion, gay marriage, homosexuality, and more), but overall I think he is doing a good job for the first year. I will look forward to see the next three years to decide if he deserves another term or we should look for a new leadership.



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alaina

posted February 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm


I’m confused by this statement:
Most Americans are not satisfied with the job the president is doing. Currently, just 42% are either completely satisfied (15%) or somewhat satisfied (27%).
42+27=69 = most
The editorializing of the data presented in this article is overdrawn and annoying.



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Andy Holt

posted February 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm


I think Obama’s problem is that he campaigned on ‘hope and change’, but those type of vagaries only last so long in the people’s consciousness. He’s probably as much a victim of his own rhetoric as anything else. Though I am shocked that the Democrats have done next to nothing even with their overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress.



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Andy

posted February 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm


Obama = Abortion
We must always vote for the Pro-Life candidate above all else.



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Steve

posted February 24, 2010 at 8:13 am


Andy: That had long been my position. But what if the Pro-Life candidate(s) are so in name only to get you to vote for them but their real agenda is something different and the number of abortions actually goes up when they’re in office?



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Lawrence Morrison

posted February 24, 2010 at 8:21 am


If you are not praying for the president and the leadership of this country you don’t the right too be so criical.



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Keith Cummings

posted February 24, 2010 at 9:39 am


Alaina,
The numbers you’re looking for are 15% + 27% = 42%. So the editorializing was correct in saying “Most Americans are not satisfied with the job the president is doing.”



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Kacie

posted February 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm


Count me among the quite satisfied crowd. I knew going into the elections that it would take about 6-8 months for the euphoria to drop among the voters moved by the hype and press appeal. I don’t expect him to regain popularity until he is out of office and we can look back and analyze.
I must say that I do find the vehement Republican evangelical attack on him to be quite frustrating. I find many people deeply dislike Obama and think his Presidency is awful, but if you ask what he’s actually done that they dislike, there’s not much that they come up with. It’s more that they dislike what they think he stands for, which is sometimes an inaccurate perception.



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Jjoe

posted February 24, 2010 at 2:13 pm


I tend to agree with voting pro-life above all else — but I include support for public health care in pro-life. Which more or less excludes 100% of Republican candidates, unfortunately.
My drop in support for Obama is tied purely to his dismal performance in health care reform.



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