Barack Obama has courted white weekly churchgoers as avidly as any Republican-leaning bloc of voters, though it now appears his efforts may fall flat on Election Day.
The Gallup Poll now shows Obama backed by 28 percent of white voters who attend church at least once a week — a group that makes up a roughly a third of all voters — which would be no improvement from the 29 percent of these voters who, according to exit polls, backed Democrats John Kerry and Al Gore in the previous two presidential election.
“There has been remarkably little change among whites in the religion gap,” said John Green, of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and a top specialist on the convergence of religion and politics.
No Democratic nominee in the modern day has made more of an effort to court religious voters than Obama. Jimmy Carter, a Southern evangelical, was the last Democrat to narrowly contest weekly church-going voters in a two-man race. But where Carter attempted to deemphasize his faith in the 1976 campaign, Obama has repeatedly returned to his faith to narrow the so-called God gap that has dogged Democrats for decades.
The party's primary saw repeated and unprecedented events emphasizing faith, such as the Compassion Forum a little more than a week before the Pennsylvania vote. In the general election, in no less unprecedented form, the first event attended by the two candidates was not a presidential debate but a forum on religion and cultural politics at an evangelical megachurch.
It was at that mid-August event at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., that Obama said it was “above my pay grade” to define when a fetus gains human rights, while McCain quickly replied, “At the moment of conception.”
For social conservative leader Richard Land, Obama’s response encapsulated why Democrats have failed to make inroads with highly religious white voters.
“It’s abortion,” Land replied when the Gallup data was read to him.
“I think pro-choice people in this culture have absolutely no idea of the depth and intensity of the moral outrage of the people who are pro-life,” Land said. “They think that conservatives use it only as a wedge issue.”
“There is no other way to explain it than Obama’s position on the issues, particularly the issue of life,” said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council.
Perkins and Land both said that the religious fissure is also deeper than any one issue, even abortion, and rooted in philosophical outlooks that still define the public’s view of both parties.
“One party is traditional and another party is pretty post-modernist,” Land said.
Democrats have made some gains in improving the public’s perception of their openness to religious Americans. Some 38 percent of Americans believe the Democratic Party is “generally friendly toward religion,” up from a low point of 26 percent in 2006, according to the annual August Pew Religion and Public Life Survey but still well below the 52 percent of Americans who view Republicans as "friendly." snip
With just a few days left until the election, we should all take a deep breath, tune out the media, and vote our conscience.
Never has a choice between two candidates been clearer: McCain/Palin have a strong record of bipartisan achievement as reformers who’ve taken politically unpopular stances on issues important to their constituents, because that was the right thing to do. If you want change in this country, and a government led by two reformers who know how to work with all sides and deliver on their promises, then McCain/Palin is the right way to go.
This election has proved how biased and aggressively liberal the news media truly is:
they have pushed their chosen candidate relentlessly, manipulated polls in his favor to discourage Republican turnout, and have bred “Eeyores” in our midst (people who buy into the lies the media sells, and then wallow in the doom and gloom they are fed by MSNBC, in particular, and its pro-Democrat agenda). Eeyores need to buck up, get up off their seats, and cast their votes for McCain/Palin. The only way we’ll lose this election is if Eeyores fail to do their part in electing the two reformers our nation needs now more than ever.
The media is working aggressively against us, so tune those talking heads out.
Listen to your heart, hold tight to the courage of your convictions, and stand tall knowing people of all political stripes, across the aisle, are working together to elect McCain/Palin to bring real change to Washington, with practical solutions to the challenges we face - and a proven track record for getting things done. But it will only happen if you get out and vote — and make sure any Eeyores around you do the same!