Beliefnet
Steven Waldman

Beliefnet has just released a fascinating survey of 4,400 of its users.  It’s not a random sample but the size of the group enabled us to do some fascinating slicing and dicing — in particular getting a glimpse at the differences between Obama’s most religious voters and the McCain religious voters. Here are a few highlights. .

Interpretation of the Bible. Religious Obama voters and religious McCain voters worship and pray at similar rates – but interpret the Bible in dramatically different ways.  Among those who attend church weekly, 81% of Obama supporters pray daily compared to 93% of McCain’s supporters. But when asked how they interpret the Bible, only 17% of Obama’s most religious voters said they view “The Bible is the literal word of God,” compared to 58% of McCain’s religious voters.” (Full chart here)

Obama’s Muslim Ties. Half of McCain voters believe Obama is or was a Muslim, with 31.7% saying “He used to be Muslim and still has too many connections to Islam.” (Full chart here)

McCain’s Top Character Flaws vs. Obama’s. While McCain voters listed Jeremiah Wright as Obama’s top character issue, Obama voters said the tone of McCain’s campaign was his top character issue.

Perceived faithyness. Supporters of each candidate doubt the religious sincerity of their opponents.  68% of McCain voters think he was somewhat or very religious  but only 32% of them thought that of Obama.  84% of Obama voters believed their candidate was somewhat or very religious, while only 32% of them thought that of McCain.

Abortion: education vs. legal restrictions. Among the most religious voters, Obama supporters believe that education and aid to pregnant mothers is the best way to reduce abortion, while McCain supporters prefer bans and restrictions on abortion (though even here, a third of pro-lifers who supported McCain believed the “Best way to reduce abortion is by preventing unintended pregnancy (through education and birth control), or providing financial assistance to pregnant mothers.”

Most important issues. Obama’s most religious supporters care much less about the traditionally-defined “values” issues than McCain do. 65% of McCain’s evangelicals said abortion was “most important” compared to just 10% of Obama evangelicals who did. On the other hand, Obama’s evangelicals were twice as likely to list “reducing poverty” as a top priority. (Full chart here)

Obamagelicals vs. McCain Evangelicals: Prayer LIfe. Although politically more liberal, Obama’s evangelicals pray and go to church about as much as McCain’s evangelicals supporters.

“Unchristian campaign.” More Obama voters believe McCain ran an “unchristian” campaign than vice versa. 57% of Obama voters said McCain ran a “more unchristian campaign” than Obama. 30% of McCain voter said that about Obama. (Full chart here)

Praying about the election.  83% of McCain voters prayed about the election. 54% of Obama voters did. Among the most religious (those who attend church weekly or more) 92% of McCain voters prayed about the election, 75% of Obama voters did.

For the full poll results click here.

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