Republicans Losing Evangelical Support

The Washington Post has a lengthy article on the loss of support for Republicans among evangelical voters (which I also discussed earlier this week). Ultimately evangelical voters may find that they have little to gain from supporting Republicans. While George Bush has thrown them more bones than most Republicans, the bottom line remains that what Republicans say to gain votes is quite different from what they do in office. 

The only thing which really matters to Republicans is using the power of government to enrich themselves. Just as Republican rhetoric about support for freedom, limited government, capitalism, and a strong defense has little relationship to their actual actions, there is no connection between Republican rhetoric in support of moral values and their actual conduct.  

While the Foley scandal has contributed to the drop in support for Republicans, this trend had started even before the scandal broke and can have important consequences for upcoming elections:

Even a small shift in the loyalty of conservative Christian voters such as Sunde could spell trouble for the GOP this fall. In 2004, white evangelical or born-again Christians made up a quarter of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted Republican, according to exit polls. But some pollsters believe that evangelical support for the GOP peaked two years ago and that what has been called the “God gap” in politics is shrinking.

A nationwide poll of 1,500 registered voters released yesterday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.

Even before the Foley scandal, the portion of white evangelicals with a “favorable” impression of the Republican Party had fallen sharply this year, from 63 percent to 54 percent, according to Pew polls.

In the latest survey, taken in the last 10 days of September and the first four days of October, the percentage of evangelicals who think that Republicans govern “in a more honest and ethical way” than Democrats has plunged to 42 percent, from 55 percent at the start of the year.

This trend has been influenced by the Foley scandal, opposition to the war among some evangelical voters, as well as additional factors reviewed in the article:

In addition to the war and congressional scandals, those considerations may include a broader definition of religious issues. Some influential ministers, such as the Rev. Rick Warren, author of the bestselling “The Purpose-Driven Life,” are urging evangelicals to fight poverty, safeguard the environment and oppose torture on biblical grounds.

To the extent that evangelicals now view these issues as “matters of conscience” alongside abortion and same-sex marriage, they could shift some votes into the Democratic column, said Ron Sider, head of the group Evangelicals for Social Action.

Another factor in evangelicals’ changing loyalties may be the efforts of Democrats to reach out to them. In Michigan, evangelical pastors helped write the preamble to the state party’s new platform. “Democrats in this state are seeking the Common Good — the best life for each person of this state. The orphan. The family. The sick. The healthy. The wealthy. The poor. The citizen. The stranger. The first. The last,” it says.


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  1. 1
    Marked Hoosier says:

    Shakes said to stop by and say Hi, so HI!


  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Wise advice over there. 🙂

    Hi, and drop by again.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    Incidentally, while we are getting a number of visitors thanks to the link from Shakespeare’s Sister, that is not the largest source of hits today.

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