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Nashville – The U.S. conservative evangelical Christian vote is still the Republican Party’s to lose, but the poor economy may be peeling some of them off, analysts say.
Voters who value moral issues such as opposition to abortion and gay marriage still tend to favor Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona over Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, USA Today reported.
But younger and more moderate Christians faced with evaporating job prospects are showing signs of flexibility on their loyalty to the GOP and some are being attracted by Obama, analysts said.
“Moderate evangelicals can swing either way, particularly in an election like this” where the economy is emerging as an overwhelming concern, James Hudnut-Beumler, dean of the Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School in Nashville, told the newspaper.
Another factor affecting the thinking of evangelicals is suspicions about McCain’s true commitment to fundamentalist Christian values. Unlike U.S. President George Bush, McCain is not an openly “born-again” Christian.
“Bush was very much seen by evangelicals as one of them,” Vanderbilt University political scientist Marc Hetherington told USA Today. “McCain on the other hand Â… his faith is something that is much more private to him.”
United Press International
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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