Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Undecided Evangelicals Shift to McCain, Catholics Still Up in the Air

It looks like undecided evangelicals have decided — for McCain.
The latest Pew poll has John McCain’s lead among evangelicals (77%-23%) almost identical to George Bush’s election-day margin over John Kerry in 2004 (78%-21%).
In June, Pew had McCain with 65% and Obama with 25%.
In other words, Obama has stayed the same, but the undecided evangelicals have broken almost entirely for McCain so far — this despite months of outreach by Obama to this group. Early indications are that it was the combination of the Sarah Palin pick, Obama’s poor performance at Saddleback Church and the rising perception that he’s a pro-abortion extremist (exemplified by his alleged support for killing infants).
But from a faith-based perspective, the poll has one piece of good news for Obama: he’s holding his own among white Catholics. In June, McCain was beating him 46%-40%; in the new poll he’s winning them 48%-41%.
Theories for why Obama would be doing a bit better with Catholics:
–Palin not as strong there
–Catholics dont care about abortion as much as evangelicals
–Catholics are more upset about the economy
–Maybe a little bit of Joe Biden

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