Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Fractured Evangelical Vote

The New York Times has an interesting analysis of the fractured nature of the Evangelical vote this election cycle. I found one point especially worth noting: this is a "voting bloc" that is more diverse than most analysts understand:

The spectacle has laid bare the enduring myth that evangelicals are a monolith that is “easy to command,” to use the phrase made famous by a Washington Post article in 1993.

Evangelical Protestants make up about 26 percent of the population. But according to surveys in the new book “The Faith Factor” by John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, that pie can be sliced even further. Only 12 percent of the population are the evangelical Protestants Mr. Green calls “traditionalists,” the political and theological conservatives who make up the bedrock of the religious right. Almost an equal share (11 percent of the population) are evangelical “centrists” and about 3 percent are “modernists,” groups that are politically less predictable.

. . .

Like other Americans, evangelicals tell pollsters they care a great deal about the war in Iraq, health care, immigration and security. If evangelicals more and more vote like average Americans, it becomes increasingly complex for the candidates to calculate how to win them over.

Mr. Giuliani’s campaign is betting that he can do without the hard-core “religious right” for whom abortion and homosexuality are litmus tests. A New York Times/CBS News poll of white born-again or evangelical Republican primary voters taken last month found that 30 percent said it would be possible for them to vote for a candidate they didn’t agree with on issues like abortion or same-sex marriage. But 59 percent said they could not.


Read it all here.

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