Ted Olsen at Christianity Today, using exit polling results from CNN, reports that among voters who described themselves as “evangelical” or “born again,” Sen. John McCain pulled 74 percent of the vote.
Sen. Barack Obama received only 26 percent, performing about the same among conservative Christians as Democratic standard-bearer John Kerry did in 2004.
(The difference, of course, is that Sen. Obama won, assisted by a strong turnout among black voters. Sen. Obama received nearly 3.3 million more votes from African-Americans than Sen. Kerry did; 2.9 million of them were from voters aged 18-29. Overall, blacks voted 95 percent for Sen. Obama.)
What the exit polls show is that the Obama candidacy, despite an abundance of speculation to the contrary, failed to make significant inroads into the conservative Christian voting bloc, which is strongest in the southeast and south central parts of the country.
(Not surprisingly, these areas are where the United Methodist Church has its strongest conferences and largest jurisdictions).
The poor Democratic showings among evangelicals likely will continue until the Democratic party finally moves toward a less extreme position on abortion. The current position (“we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine [the] right [to an abortion]“) puts the party squarely at odds with the biblical view of the sanctity of unborn human life.
Other polling data indicate that non-evangelical Protestants also favored McCain. In contrast, Sen. Obama ran strong among the irreligious, garnering more than two-thirds of the vote among people who never attend church. He also pulled 53 percent among those who attend worship services only irregularly.
Remarkably, the pro-abortion Sen. Obama captured 53 percent of the Catholic vote, a six-point improvement over Sen. Kerry’s showing in 2004, despite urgent calls from Catholic leaders to vote pro-life. Still, McCain won a majority of Catholics who attend worship regularly.
Jewish voters, a reliably Democratic voting bloc in the U.S., went 77 percent for Obama-Biden, helping the ticket gain wins in New York, California, New Jersey, and Florida. (Jews in Israel, by contrast, are far less sanguine about an Obama presidency.)
Here are the evangelical tallies by state (the first percentage represents the voters in each state who self-identified as evangelical or born again; no data is available for Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont):
10% for Obama
66% for McCain
32% for Obama
74% for McCain
25% for Obama
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
74% for McCain
25% for Obama
- North Dakota
70% for McCain
29% for Obama
- South Carolina
84% for McCain
16% for Obama
- South Dakota
No numbers on evangelicals, but Mormons voted 80% for McCain.
- West Virginia