Joseph Knippenberg notes that the willingness of some black pastors to speak out in support of President Bush "may be an indicator of a modest movement away from the Democrats among African-American voters. A Pew poll conducted in late September found 12% support among African-Americans for Bush—not appreciably different from Bob Dole’s share of the vote in 1996—but a surprisingly low 73% level of support for John Kerry. John C. Green’s "American Religious Landscape" poll (completed in May, 2004) showed a six point decline in African-American Democratic identification from 1992 to 2004 (from 77% to 71%)." Here is John Greens study Knippenberg refers to (PDF file, 57 pages). Knippenberg concludes:
"I’m hopeful for the future. Two years ago I argued that the faith-based initiative provoked so much Democratic opposition because it held out the promise of fundamentally changing the relationship between the needy and the state. Individuals embraced and assisted by a loving community would not long be clients of a welfare bureaucracy. Individual self-reliance—especially when embedded in a vital and vibrant community—is a good thing in itself. It’s bad only for those who want to rely on their clients for votes. And it may prove also to be good for the party that facilitated that independence. Not necessarily this year. But we can, I hope, be patient."