Monday, June 9, 2008

New Poll on Faith and Politics

The Henry Institute at Calvin College has released the results of a poll that attempts to compare support of the 2008 Presidential candidates byvarious religious groups to the 2004 election. the results are very interesting:

Perhaps the most noteworthy overall pattern found in Table 11 is the general decline in the level of support expressed for McCain versus that for Bush. Evangelical Protestants hardly appear to be abandoning John McCain, but their level of support for McCain does not fully match the level of support that they expressed for Bush at roughly the same stage in the 2004 presidential election process. Traditionalist evangelicals exhibit a higher level of “undecided” voters in 2008 than 2004, while centrist and modernist evangelicals express higher levels of support for the Democratic presidential candidate than was evident in 2004.

Overall, Mainline Protestants appear to be somewhat more supportive of the Democratic candidate in 2008 than in 2004. However, this marginal increase in the Democratic direction conceals the fact that both traditionalist and modernist Mainline Protestants are actually somewhat more supportive of McCain in 2008 than they were of Bush in 2004. Where dramatic change has occurred has been among centrist Mainline Protestants, as they have shifted from strong support for Bush in 2004 (50 percent) to a nearly equivalent level of support for the Democratic candidate in 2008 (46 percent).

Traditionalist Catholics are more supportive of McCain in 2008 than they were of Bush in 2004, but the reverse is true with regard to centrist and modernist Catholics. Latinos, regardless of whether they are Protestant or Catholic, are much more supportive of the Democratic candidate in 2008 than they were of Kerry in 2004.

Tables 12 and 13 analyze the matchups between John McCain and Hillary Clinton (Table 12) and between John McCain and Barack Obama (Table 13). Overall, marginal differences are evident among religious voters when the Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton as opposed to Barack Obama, though Obama tends to fare slightly better than Clinton in matchups against McCain. Nevertheless, certain important religious differences are evident should the Democratic nominee be Clinton rather than Obama. First, Latino Catholics and Jews are far more likely to support Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama, whereas Black Protestants, those of Other Faiths, and the Religiously Unaffiliated are far more likely to support Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton in their respective matchups with John McCain (with Black Protestants reporting a high level of uncertainty in their voting when Hillary Clinton is cast as the nominee of the party).

Read it all here. Lots of data to crunch for political junkies. Hat tip to Melissa Rogers.

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