If a mix of religious and other concerns has created a variety of views among evangelical Republicans, it has moved some away from that party altogether. In the 2006 midterms 41% of white evangelicals were “happy” with Democratic wins.[16] In the 2008 presidential election, a third of white evangelicals under 40 voted for Obama; 26% of older white evangelicals did, 36% of the less observant.[17] Evangelical PACs like the Matthew 25 Network formed to support Obama. Two evangelical ministers, Tony Campolo and Joel Hunter, helped write the 2008 Democratic party platform. A third, Leah Daughtry, was CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

Thus far, variety in evangelical voting has tended to cause a stir--though that variety is longstanding in evangelical history and theology, with the emphasis on the individual conscience and the politics-Gospel distinction. If candidates continue to think that evangelicals vote one way on only one set of religious reasons, they will miss all the others, potentially missing 80 million votes.


Marcia Pally teaches at NYU and Fordham University. Her most recent book is The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good (2011, Eerdmans).


[1] In Virginia, evangelicals voted more strongly for Romney (62%) than did the general population (57%).

[2] http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765561534/Romney-grows-edge-among-high-income-voters-in-Ill.html

[3] Tennessee, Kansas, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/us/politics/romney-a-victor-in-illinois.html

[5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/exit-polls-show-romneys-strong-showing-among-college-grads-high-income-voters-drove-win/2012/03/20/gIQAmgMUQS_story.html

[6] Boyd, G. (2009, April 8). Don’t Weep for the Demise of American Christianity. Christus Victor

Ministries (blog).

[7] Hunter, J. (2008). A new kind of conservative. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light Publishing. p.31.

[8] Gushee, D. (2008). The Future of Faith in American Politics: The Public Witness of the Evangelical

Center. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, pp. 49, 51; see also, A New Evangelical Manifesto: A Kingdom Vision for the Common Good on the disservice done to the Kingdom when it is conflated with a political wrangling.

[9] Kirkpatrick, D. (2007, Oct., 28). The Evangelical Crackup. The New York Times magazine.

[10] Balmer, R. (2006) Thy Kingdom Come: How the religious right distorts the faith and threatens America — an Evangelical’s lament. New York: Basic Books, p. 189.

[11] National Association of Evangelicals. (2007). An Evangelical Declaration against torture: Protecting Human Rights in an Age of Terror. http://www.esa-online.org/


[12] Tomma, S. (2007, Sept. 30). Influence of Christian right in the GOP wanes. McClatchy Washington Bureau. http://www.sacbee.com/111/v-print/story/406777.html

[13] http://www.anevangelicalmanifesto.com/docs/Evangelical_Manifesto.pdf

[14] http://www.nae.net/budgetcircle

[15] https://app7.vocusgr.com/WebPublish/Controller.aspx?SiteName=NAE&Definition=ViewIssue&IssueID=1446

[16] http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Religion-and-the-2006-Elections.aspx

[17] http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Much-Hope-Modest-Change-for-Democrats-Religion-in-the-2008-Presidential-Election.aspx

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