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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Myth of McCain’s Weakness Among Evangelicals

by Steven Waldman, president & editor-in-chief of on the WSJ Political Perceptions: Conventional wisdom holds that John McCain is struggling to win evangelical voters. Evangelical leader Mark DeMoss predicted last week that he’d run weaker than any Republican since 1976 . . . Sen. McCain has been criticized by prominent Christian leaders such as James Dobson . . . In the primaries, most Christian leaders backed Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee. More recently, Sen. McCain’s decision to jettison two prominent conservative Christians – John Hagee and Rod Parsely – has sent his ratings plummeting . . . .

But is this conventional wisdom really true? Or to be more precise, Sen. McCain clearly has a problem with evangelical leaders — but does he really have a major problem with evangelical voters? On the contrary, Sen. McCain won the nomination in part because he did far better than expected with rank-and-file evangelicals. . . . For instance, in New Hampshire, among the 21% of the Republican electorate that was evangelical or “born again,” Sen. McCain won 29%, Mr. Romney 28% and Mr. Huckabee 27% — even though Mr. Huckabee is a former evangelical preacher and Mr. Romney had the endorsements of many key Christian leaders. . . .

In a recent Rasmussen poll, Sen. McCain was winning 58% of evangelicals, and . . . Sen. Barack Obama, was winning 32%. . . . Why would Sen. McCain be doing so much better among evangelical voters than evangelical leaders? First, the leadership’s disgust with Sen. McCain stems from the candidate’s treatment of them. His “agents of intolerance” speech was not an attack on evangelicals, but on a few of their leaders. Second, some of the issues over which Christian leaders have chastised Sen. McCain are inside-the-beltway concerns that don’t resonate with rank-and-file voters. . . . Third, though he’s reluctant to talk about his personal faith, in many ways Sen. McCain is substantively in perfect alignment with today’s evangelical voters. . . . Fourth, Sen. McCain’s support of the Iraq war, his war-hero history and his emphasis on fighting terrorism appeals to those Christians who feel that fighting Islam has risen to the top of the list of important issues for Christians. . . . Sen. McCain’s problems with rank-and-file evangelical voters have been vastly overstated. . . . [Read More]

Tags: Election 2008, Evangelicals, John McCain, value voters To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 4:01 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, I hear this a lot on my 'conservative' boards.

I am really curious about the 32% of Evangelicals who are supporting Obama. Have they SEEN his platform on abortion, marriage, anything?!!? How would you reconcile that worldview with Obama's policies and positions?? Or are they just not aware?

[Comment Cross-posted on same story on McCain Now]

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! I like how the whole "agents of intolerance" speech was fairly handled. I haven't seen that fairly handled often enough. Nowadays, since the primaries, its hard to find an original copy, as usually it is mentioned on blogs that have sliced it and diced it so many times that it doesn't even resemble what it once was. How strange political avarice works. I did have a chance to look at it before the primaries. Funny! He wasn't addressing all Christians, as he was praising Chuck Colson for his Prison Fellowship. We know that Pat Robertson has turned out to be "reliable" to evangelical causes over the years. McCain made amends with Jerry Falwell. Let's face it. John McCain does not pander to certain attitudes such as anti-Catholicism or anti-semitism, or anything that would resemble the slightest hint of racism. He also doesn't appear to like the health and wealth exploiters. He does appear to respect Christianity that follows the Red Letters.

[Comment Cross-posted on same story on McCain Now]

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this piece a lot. Even though I call myself an evangelical Christian (Catholic), I have problems with the evangelicals who want constant care and feeding. Last night on the Glenn Beck show (Glenn wasn't there, and so I watched), Ralph Reed said McCain was getting 87% of the Republic vote (a good number) and 68% (I believe) of the evangelical vote. Somewhere between 25% and 30% of evangelicals vote for Democrats. Jean asked if the evangelical backing Obama were aware of his positions. I fear the answer is that Barack sounds "evangelical" so some evangelicals assume he's just like them. He isn't, trust me. There needs to be more disucssion of Obama's complete support of every form of abortion, including the monstrous policy of "live birth abortion."

steve maloney
ambridge, pa

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the media can never understand is the Evangelical. They are silent voters who wield power in the American electorate.

McCain is 100% pro life and Obama is 100% against his claimed belief system.

[Comment Cross-posted on same story on McCain Now]

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think those evangelicals who are leaning toward McCain are in reality voting against Obama and the other lagging options.

Many evangelicals remember McCain as being hostile toward them.

"In his first run eight years ago, he derided their leaders, labeling some "agents of intolerance." Since then, he has sought to repair relations, speaking, for instance, at the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Virginia in 2006."

[Comment cross-posted for the same story on Battleground States 08]

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, Can we afford to let Obama appoint 2 to 4 Justices? Senator McCain needs to prove to evangelicals and others that he is with them with his first appointment--VP. I don't care if he gives the moderates talk. I want the appointments.

[Comment cross-posted for the same story on Battleground States 08]

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huckabee did less well with evangelicals in NH because they have a much more individualist oriented view of Christianity. the view Huckabee and the Southern Baptist church establishment in Arkansas -tends- to be more collectivistic in orrientation

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe his campaign's treatment of leaders And not just Parsley/Hagee, but

Billy Graham, a guy he really needs if Republicans want to win, will provide a clue as to why this is happening.


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