Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Evangelical Democrats

These stories describe the results of this poll, which found that a little less than a third of the white evangelical voters in Missouri and Tennessee on Super Tuesday partcipated in the Democratic contests (overwhelmingly favoring Clinton, by the way). The poll also found that evangelicals on both sides were less focused on "traditional" culture war issues, though I wouldn’t necessarily leap from there to the conclusion that an extremely pro-choice party or candidate can command the allegiance of such voters over the long haul.

This poll echoes somewhat the result of this survey, described here. I would note, however, that Barna’s "born-again" voters sound to me like self-identified Christians and that his evangelical subset still overwhelming favors Republicans (albeit with a very significant proportion of undecideds).

Republicans would do well to remember that Bush’s narrow victories came with an unprecedentedly high level of support from evangelicals, support that John McCain will be hard-pressed to duplicate this fall. They should also remember that Catholics tilted into the Republican camp in ’00 and ’04, but not in ’06. Finally, they should note that simply mouthing support for the pro-life position and for traditional marriage likely won’t be enough to galvanize their erstwhile supporters among traditionalist evangelicals and Catholics. A meaningful commitment on these issues is essential, but so is recognition of a broader agenda. You can favor smaller government, but you have to explain how smaller government creates conditions that will help people lift themselves out of poverty. As Jim Wallis has said, the budget is a moral document, and one shouldn’t speak about it simply in terms of letting me keep what is mine. One ought to offer a vision of the common good that is served by a less intrusive government, one that leaves the initiative to and assists the institutions of civil society.

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