NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Despite media speculation to the contrary, three new polls show that evangelicals, including Southern Baptist pastors, support Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama by wide margins.
The polls were released as Obama courts Christian leaders and voters in hopes of cutting into what has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. During the Democratic primary, Obama's campaign released a flyer in conservative Kentucky showing him at a pulpit, with a cross in the background, quoting him as saying, "I won't be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work." The flyer called Obama a "committed Christian."
But, so far, Obama's outreach hasn't put a significant dent in McCain's support among evangelicals. For instance:
-- 80 percent of Southern Baptist pastors plan to vote for McCain and only 1 percent for Obama, according to a poll of 778 pastors conducted by LifeWay Research in April and May. Fifteen percent were undecided.
-- 78 percent of likely evangelical voters say they'll vote for McCain, according to a survey of 1,003 adults conducted in May by The Barna Group.
-- 57 percent of evangelical Protestants say they'll vote for McCain and 25 percent for Obama, according to a poll of 3,002 adults in April and May commissioned by the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College. Additionally, 54 percent of evangelical Protestants identify themselves as Republicans -- down only 2 percent from a similar poll in 2004.
The differences between the results from the Barna and Calvin College surveys could be explained by examining the respective survey's methodology. Calvin College's survey simply asked people if they considered themselves evangelicals; Barna's survey used a series of detailed questions to determine if someone actually is an evangelical.... Read More