June 11, 2008


McCain enjoying usual Republican margin among highly religious voters (Frank Newport, 6/10/08, USA Today: Gallup Guru)

News reports in recent days have probed what has been labeled as John McCain’s “Evangelical problem”. The columnist Robert Novak claims that “enthusiasm for McCain inside the Republican coalition is in short supply.” His column talked about the necessity of McCain traveling to Colorado Springs, the home of Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson. And the New York Times on Monday front-paged an article: “ McCain Extends His Outreach, But Evangelicals Are Still Wary”. The article, by Michael Luo, goes on to say “…one of Mr. McCain’s biggest challenges as he faces a general election contest with Senator Barack Obama [is] a continuing wariness toward him among evangelicals and other Christian conservatives…”

Much of the content of these articles depends on anecdotal evidence and opinions of the few leaders or pundits the reporters or columnists could find to interview. Of course, my question is: What do the data show?

A strong bias towards the GOP candidate among highly religious Americans is in essence the starting point for any modern American presidential campaign. My review of the data suggests that McCain so far is no exception. He has very big margins over Obama among highly religious voters across the board. McCain actually appears to be doing a little better among this group than did George W. Bush in 2000, although he’s doing a little worse than Geroge W. Bush did in 2004.

The same folks who think Maverick has a problem with the religious thought Rudy and Mitt would be fighting their way to the convention now.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 11, 2008 6:18 PM

Must be something in the DC waters, folks in there just don't understand how the rest of the country thinks. These were the same morons who were endorsing Giuliani and Romney.

Posted by: sam at June 11, 2008 6:53 PM

Whatever problems Evangelicals may have with McCain don't compare to the problems they have with Obama. The hard part won't be turning out their votes, but their volunteers and pocketbooks.

Posted by: AC at June 11, 2008 7:11 PM

Darn right, Sam.

Dobson, Gruden, Jones III et al showed that they were more would-be movers and shakers than actual Evangelicals when they either came out for Romney or trashed McCain (or both).

Real Evangelicals like McCain a lot. Just ask Huckabee. :-)

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at June 11, 2008 11:23 PM

One more thing. Tough to beat Bush's numbers in 2004. He was as close to sainthood at that point as a Protestant can get among the faithful.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at June 11, 2008 11:25 PM