November 2, 2010 – “The Evangelical Comeback?”

Posted: November 3, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Politics
Tags: ,

Here’s a link to an article with some post-election analysis concerning the Evangelical turnout (link). The article states (emphasis mine):

 According to a post-election survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the largest single constituency in the electorate in the 2010 midterm elections was self-identified evangelicals, who comprised 29% of the vote. This turnout represented a 5 percent increase in evangelical turnout over 2006 and was the largest ever recorded in a midterm election. Evangelicals were joined by frequently church-attending Roman Catholic voters, who constituted 12 percent of the vote. “People of faith turned out in the highest numbers in a midterm election we have ever seen, and they made an invaluable contribution to the historic results,” said Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “This survey, along with numerous exit polls, makes it clear that those who ignore or disregard social conservative voters and their issues do so at their own peril.”

There is obviously no coincidence that the Evangelical electorate was motivated these midterms. It seems that there is an obvious link between a motivated Evangelical electorate and GOP success. This is the first time I have heard Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition, say anything the media considered relevant. Quoting him again:

“This survey, along with numerous exit polls, makes it clear that those who ignore or disregard social conservative voters and their issues do so at their own peril.”

I appreciate Reed’s concern for social conservatism, but I think he is overreaching a bit when the exit polling showed that the top motivating factors were not necessarily social policy as much as unhappiness with the economy and an overall disappointment with Washington. The truth is that some socially conservative initiatives like Prop. 48 in Colorado to define personhood at the moment of conception went down in flames 70%-30% (link). I am encouraged that the Pot initiative went down in CA, which reminds us that even CA has rejected gay marriage and legalized pot, even though they reelected Boxer and voted Brown in as Gov. The fact is that elections are complex and the electorate often surprises us.

Christians voted in large measure because we are a nation that houses many Christians. When Christians are unmotivated, their voting turnout is mediocre and Liberals start to think we are a Middle-Left country. Liberals are guilty of overreading elections and proceed hard left, like in 2006 and 2008. When Christians are motivated and vote, we are reminded that we are a Middle-Right country, like 2000, 2004, and now in 2010. It’s true that a 30% voting block will hold a lot of sway over elections that are determined by 5 points or less. President Obama knew this and worked hard for the Evangelical vote in 2008. He was realistic and knew that if he could just flip even 5% of the Evangelical vote, it could lead to victories in some battleground states.

Stay tuned for 2012!!!

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