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In the past I’ve written that the basic dilemma for Moderate Evangelicals and centrist Catholics has been that they’re liberal on the war and other issues but conservative on the social issues. They’re reluctant to pull the lever for a pro-choice, pro-gay rights candidate like Obama
Well, I’d like to revise my view. The new Twelve Tribes study shows that a sizable chunk of these evangelicals and Catholics are pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and have moved in that direction.
For instance, while only 14% of Moderate Evangelicals call themselves “liberal,” a stunning 46% of them now say they are pro-choice, compared to 41% in 2004. They are coming very close to the national average which is at 52%. This same trend is occuring for positions on gay marriage.
And what of Convertible Catholics? 51% called themselves pro-choice in 2004; now 55% do. The coverage of the Bishops’ views on abortion can lead us to forget that this pivotal swing bloc of Catholics is now more pro choice than the population as a whole.
In other words, being pro-choice should not preclude a Democrat making sizable headway among Moderate Evangelicals or Convertible Catholics.
However, Obama was actually underperforming among both in the summer of 2008, according to this poll. If he were winning all of the pro-choice evangelicals, he’d be getting 46% of the Moderate Evangelicals, instead of the 37% he actually was getting. If he was getting all of the pro-choice Catholics, he’d be getting 55% instead of the 40%.
That may mean they’re pro-choice but view Obama as a pro-choice “extremist” or simply that they have the reasons they don’t like him.
More on the Twelve Tribes study here.