I’ve been curious about the extent to which Obama garnered evangelical support in his (massively) successful presidential bid. There appear to be various slants on the data, but here are some nuggets:
1. Exit polls say 26 percent of American voters in the 2008 general election called themselves evangelical or born-again Christians, and of these, 74 percent voted for McCain, with 25 percent voting for Obama. (HT: Ted Olsen) By comparison, George W. Bush won 78% of the evangelical vote in 2004.
2. However, Steve Waldeman reports that Obama doubled his support among evangelicals aged 18-29 (getting 32% compared to 16% in 2004). Obama actually went down among evangelicals 65 and older (Kerry got 32% of them; Obama got 26%).
More concerning is the data on abortion: Belief.net reports that one among every five Obama supporters was pro-life. That sounds a bit high (the belief.net data is not based on a scientific study and did not employ random sampling), but not absurd. So why would pro-life voters choose Obama? Obama pro-lifers, says Steve Waldeman, differ from McCain pro-lifers:
11% believe the best way to reduce the number of abortions is through legal restrictions
87% believe the best way is “by preventing unintended pregnancies (through education and birth control) or providing financial assistance to pregnant mothers.”
By comparison, McCain pro-lifers favor legal restrictions by a 2-1 margin.
Related: Regardless of what people believe or know, pro-life officials significantly reduce abortion rates, which means (sadly) we may be going backwards in the near future.