Obama Leading McCain Among Christian Voters

The Barma Group, a  Christian polling and research organization, has a poll out which shows that Obama is leading McCain among Christians, but some of this support has been eroding:

A new nationwide survey of people’s candidate preference conducted by The Barna Group some movement over the past two months, with Sen. Obama maintaining a substantial 43% to 34% lead among those who are likely to vote in November, with 5% selecting minor party candidates. That lead is a decline for Sen. Obama’s since early June, when he led his Republican rival 50% to 35% among likely voters. In the past two months, more voters have gravitated to third-party candidates (5%) and a higher proportion is now undecided (up from 15% to 21%).

Sen. McCain has struggled to ignite widespread interest in his candidacy, as evidenced by the fact that a majority of just three out of the sixty voter segments studied would vote for him if the election were held today. In startling contrast, a majority of the likely voters from 16 voter segments would back Sen. Barack Obama. Among the segments in which neither candidate has majority support, Sen. Obama leads among 35 of those groups while Sen. McCain leads among only three.

The bright spots for Sen. McCain in the latest results are the support from evangelicals (among whom he holds a 61%-17% lead), the notable shift away from Sen. Obama among several key faith communities, and the increased share of undecided voters since the beginning of June. However, at this stage most of these realignments reflect a softening of support for Sen. Obama more than a surge of allegiance to the Arizona Republican…

For the most part, the various faith communities of the U.S. currently support Sen. Obama for the presidency. Among the 19 faith segments that The Barna Group tracks, evangelicals were the only segment to throw its support to Sen. McCain. Among the larger faith niches to support Sen. Obama are non-evangelical born again Christians (43% to 31%); notional Christians (44% to 28%); people aligned with faiths other than Christianity (56% to 24%); atheists and agnostics (55% to 17%); Catholics (39% vs. 29%); and Protestants (43% to 34%). In fact, if the current preferences stand pat, this would mark the first time in more than two decades that the born again vote has swung toward the Democratic candidate.

However, while there has been little movement since the beginning of June among most voting segments (such as ethnic groups, age groups, or geographic slices), there has been substantial churn among religious segments. During the past two months, Sen. Obama’s lead has eroded substantially among non-evangelical born again Christians (a decline of nine points); active Christians (a 20-point drop); Protestants (down 13 points); and Catholics (down 11 points).

While some Christian voters seem to be questioning their early support for Obama, the McCain candidacy does not seem to be gaining momentum among evangelicals. Since June, the current level of support Sen. McCain has among evangelical voters has declined significantly (dropping from 78% to 61%).

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment