Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Evangelicals and Obama

There have been a lot of stories analyzing the exit polling showing that Obama didn't pick up many evangelical voters. Politico even says, "The evangelical shift that wasn’t"
Obama picked up more white evangelical voters than John F. Kerry in 2004, receiving 26 percent to Kerry’s 21 percent, according to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life analysis. With white evangelicals accounting for a full quarter of the electorate, that slight uptick translated into a couple million more evangelical votes for the Democrat.

And Open Left has an amazing analysis of White Evangelical voters. In it, the author points out that not all evangelicals are made equal. Those that live more diverse settings were more likely to support Obama, but those that live in white, evangelical enclaves were less likely to vote for Obama.

From this vantage point, I'd like to point out the difference among evangelicals that I felt about Obama as compared to Kerry. With Kerry, many evangelicals were scared of him. They didn't trust him (Catholicism?) and were sure he'd be a horrible mess for America.

However, with Obama, many evangelicals were more comfortable with him. They weren't excited about him because he's still a gay-loving abortionist, but they were more comfortable with Obama making decisions. Most did believe his born-again experience and could relate to his Biblically-peppered speeches. Sure, they weren't going to vote for Obama, but if he won, it probably wouldn't be the end of the world.

On the flip-side, until McCain chose Palin, evangelicals were less sure about McCain's faith. That meant that several white Evangelicals I know sat out the election. They didn't give money, canvass or phone bank. They did vote for McCain, but weren't very energized to turn out votes for him.

So what should we take away from this? What does that mean for the Democratic Party in the future? I'm not sure. I just know that many young evangelicals in my church were excited about Obama and the McCain supporters were so grudgingly.

I guess we'll have to wait to see how Obama does in the White House...