Thursday, November 06, 2008

Barack Obama – how the religions voted

According to the exit polls, President-Elect Obama built a winning coalition of religious voters of all persuasions, significantly closing gap which traditionally shows frequent-worshippers leaning towards the Republicans. Despite the abortion furore and his avowed liberalism, he won over a majority of Jews and Roman Catholics, made significant inroads into the younger Evangelicals, and persuaded vast numbers of the minor religious groups to buy into his vision.

What is significant is the colour divide among the religions. White Catholics and Evangelical Protestants remained in the Republican camp. But among black Protestants, 94 per cent voted for Obama, along with 72 per cent of Hispanic Catholics and 67 per cent of Hispanic Protestants.

Of the frequent worshippers (those who attend weekly), President-Elect Obama won 43 per cent to Senator McCain's 55 per cent. This was an improvement over John Kerry’s 39 per cent to George Bush's 61 percent. Among voters who attend church more than once a week, Obama narrowed a 29-point Republican advantage in 2004 (64 per cent to 35 per cent) to a 12-point Republican advantage (55 per cent to 43 per cent).

White Evangelicals are estimated to account for 23 per cent of the electorate, and they remain firmly in the Republican camp. Senator McCain won over 74 per cent to Obama’s 24 per cent, but this was lower than that won by George Bush (79 per cent to John Kerry’s 21 per cent). It seems that 32 per cent of younger Protestants (18-29) favoured ‘change’, which is about 10 per cent higher than those aged 30-64. If young Evangelicals are more open to Democrats or susceptible to calls for ‘change’, the implications for the future of the Republican Party are serious. A coalition of the majority of younger white Evangelicals, black Evangelicals, Hispanic Evangelicals, Catholics and Jews may constitute a shift in the religio-political landscape which may be long-term.

Among the Catholics, President-Elect Obama won 54 percent to Senator McCain’s 45 per cent, just four years after President Bush won Catholics 52 to 47 per cent. Obama lost the white Catholic vote 52 percent to 47 percent, but that was still four points better than John Kerry's showing. The candidates were evenly split among Catholics who go to Mass weekly.

A number of US Catholic bishops emphasised abortion as a paramount voting issue this year, but the economy and/or the Iraq war appears to have been a primary cause for the voting shift.

The Democrats usually do well with the Jewish vote, and this election was no different. President-Elect Obama won about 77 per cent, which was an increase on the 2004 election, when Democratic candidate John Kerry received 74 per cent of the Jewish vote. Al Gore received the highest percentage of Jewish votes in 2000, with 79 per cent.

An estimated 4 million Muslims in the US are concentrated in 12 states, including the ‘battleground’ states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Michigan, where they constitute between 3-7 per cent of the population. Precise figures are difficult to obtain, but of voting intentions, 42 per cent said they would vote for Barack Obama, and just 17 per cent for Senator McCain. Some 28 per cent did not declare for either candidate. This reflects a dramatic turnaround in the past decade: in 2000, George Bush won an astonishing 72% of the Muslim vote, based on some combination of his social and fiscal conservatism, perceived openness on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deliberate outreach to the Muslim community. By 2004, with the ‘war on terror’ and the war in Iraq under way and the feeling of their civil liberties being diminished, in an astonishing turnaround, about 90 per cent of Muslims voted for John Kerry.


It is reported that 89 per cent of US Muslims voted for Barack Obama, as against 2 per cent for John McCain. 95 per cent of Muslims are reported to have voted in this presidential election, either at the polls or by absentee ballot. This is the highest ever American Muslim voter turnout.


Blogger Dave said...

Useful stats your Grace. But doesn't the record turnout just show that the young blacks registered to vote because theywere persuaded that Obama might just be different to all the others?
When they find out that he is first and foremost a politician they will be sorely disappointed

6 November 2008 at 10:12  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Many Catholics seem to have lost their moral compass (to use a rather overworked term). That would have been unthinkable 40 years ago.

You and I know, your Grace that the promises of politicians count for nothing, but moral absolutes remain.

If Obama does as he has promised the liberal left and brings into law the so called Freedom of Choice Act(and please God it doesn't happen), there will be a significant increase in the abortion rate and reintroduction of the barbaric partial birth abortion.

Then I hope that my coreligionists will realise that they have fallen for oldest confidence trick in the world.

6 November 2008 at 10:27  
Anonymous Chris said...

Alas, your Grace, Al Gore's 79% of the Jewish vote in 2000, and George W. Bush's 72% of the Muslim vote, are probably attributable to the presence of Joe Lieberman as the Dems' VP candidate.

6 November 2008 at 10:54  
Anonymous Methodist for Obama said...

The statistics are interesting your grace, but doubtless the results will be sliced and diced in every possible way in the coming days.

I maintain the opinion I have had all along - that Obama would win simply because he was the most different to the incumbent. Bush is not popular and has not been for a long time. In that way, Obama had the same advantage that Blair had in 1997 - he only needed to promise change.

As for the abortion issue and the "paramount" instruction of the catholics, Justin Webb of the BBC already nailed the truth in his live writing on election night

2311: No need for legal action in Virginia - but the celebrations of an Obama win there seem to me to speak more of a changing America than of Obama managing to triumph in an unlikely place. Virginia is a changed state - it has grown by 50% in 10 years. Those newcomers are not your granny's Virginians. Virginia looks and feels different. And as Virginia goes, so goes the nation - this is the immutable fact which wise Republicans (Pawlenty et al) grasp. Unwise Republicans think abortion and gay-bashing and gun-toting can still win them the future...

These views were echoed in Dnail Finkelsteins excellent piece in The Times yesterday

The big themes of Republican politics - cut income tax, fight crime, reform social security, outlaw abortion, support marriage - no longer cut it politically. The Democrat tunes play better.

Tax cutting has lost its edge because 29 million Americans pay no income tax at all and because the Democrats have learnt how to blunt the message. Success has made crime less of a preoccupation. And the desperate need for Republicans to win votes among women makes their stance on abortion a serious problem.

The Republicans were forced to select a maverick because they did not have an electable mainstream Republican candidate. This was because the mainstream Republican agenda is no longer a winner.

Welcome to a new American president. Welcome to a new American politics.

6 November 2008 at 11:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any one that voted for Obama for President has condemmed there soul to HELL by voting for the death of the unborn. May god have mercy on your soul.

6 November 2008 at 12:59  
Blogger Pam H. said...

RE Methodist for Obama: I do not believe the abortion, gun advocate, anti-gay marriage agenda no longer cut it politically. The polls still show most Americans in favor of these things. It seems to me the Bush Administration messed up on some key issues which has overridden the people's still-strong belief in these positions. In addition to mistakes in The War, there was the outrage of the Border Wall issue. That should never have become so contentious. I don't think most of us want a heavily-manned wall, we simply want current laws enforced. And, what would also have helped the Republicans, to have enabled those who wish to cross into this country due to dire need, to be helped to do so legally, in spite of their illiteracy and utter poverty. More entry points and the assignment of some sort of assistance for the poor might well have done the trick. Too much bad press. The press have disliked the Republican party for a very long time, and they had plenty of ammunition over the past four years.

6 November 2008 at 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6 November 2008 at 15:34  
Blogger Matthew Nelson said...

Your Grace:

1. That religiously observant voters would repudiate an unjust war of aggression and pass on a faux Pro-Life candidate should not be surprising.

2. Four million islamic votes may well have swung the election. So expect some race/religion hustler(s) to attempt to position himself as "the" spokesman for islamic America (as Obama is 'Christian.') Jesse Jackson and Al Sharton have proven just how lucrative this kind of racket can be!

6 November 2008 at 18:11  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

Please, let the USA have an openly atheist/agnostic president some day. I hope that Bill Moyers and Pat Robertson keep their theologies out of politics.
Seriously, the sooner we get a president taking the oath of office without the unconstitutional 'so help me god' at the end, the better.

6 November 2008 at 18:54  
Anonymous len said...

Do not place your trust in man,in weapons, in riches, in yourself,in governments, or in the lying words of a godless society.Put your trust in God.!

6 November 2008 at 19:21  
Blogger Alfred said...

Re: Methodist for Obama's comments on Virginia. My small poll of people here, friends and acquaintances, suggests that the voters fell into 2 distinct camps. Those who voted for Obama seemed criminally ignorant of his policies. Those who understood Obama's policies voted 100% for McCain.

The interviews on the local TV backed up this view. This was a victory of personality or "change", whatever that turns out to mean, over actual policies.

6 November 2008 at 21:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The America I live in now is not anything like the America in which I was reared. Things change, to be sure, and fortunately, often for the better. However, in my judgment, the greatly changed America is owing to its forgotten roots. New Hampshire still has on its state flag the colonial motto, "Live free or die." You would never know it by looking at vote tallies. The American Creed that I most value is the motto of the Gadsen flag, "Don't tread on me." But, of course, now we have government invading our retirement, our heath care, and everything under the sun. Long story short, we have sold our birthright for a mess of pottage.

6 November 2008 at 22:31  
Blogger Pam H. said...

RE Mr. Matthew Nelson's comments:

"1. That religiously observant voters would repudiate an unjust war of aggression and pass on a faux Pro-Life candidate should not be surprising."

All Republican candidates in recent history have appointed Supreme Court justices who favor Right to Life issues. This is not a faux Pro-Life vote. It is in the Supreme Court that the most decisive results are obtained.

"2. Four million islamic votes may well have swung the election. So expect some race/religion hustler(s) to attempt to position himself as "the" spokesman for islamic America (as Obama is 'Christian.')"

It's my understanding that the majority of Islamics in America have not yet received their citizenship. I work with a large number of them, and quite a few of them most definitely would not have voted for Mr. Obama.

Finally, my conversations with others seem to confirm the above comment by Alfred. A number of blacks have said, unequivocally, that they voted for him because of his race. The same people don't seem to agree with his pro-abortion policies, yet they overlooked this. In a way, I can understand this, yet it saddens me. I think it is a good thing that a black man can become President of the U.S.A., but I would it had not been THIS man.

7 November 2008 at 00:02  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

This election should serve as a wake up call to all Christian leaders. They are failing to communicate with their congregations. There is a huge disconnect between what is being preached and what is being practiced. The congregates are not living the gospels. They are christian in name only. They want a quick easy fix to life's problems.Most people relegate religion to one or two hours a week.

7 November 2008 at 04:13  
Blogger Matthew Nelson said...

Pam H.,

1. Actually, GOP Supreme Court appointees wrote the voted to uphold Roe v. Wade in the most recent challenge to it -- Stevens, Kenndey, O'Connor, and Suter. Moreover, when the GOP held both houses of Congress, they refused to take their authority enshrined in Artilce III away the Courts subject-matter jurisdiction over abortion. Finally, no GOP president has ever threatened to refuse to enforce Roe v. Wade against the states (though several Presidential nominees of the Constitution Party has promised to do so.

In sum, I stand by my claim that the GOP and especially John McCain is a Pro Life fraud.

2. Bishop Cranmer, our gracious host, suggested that a large p[ercentage of 4 million Moslem voters (legal or otherwise -- it does happen) went for Obama.

7 November 2008 at 06:07  
Anonymous Jeff in Ohio said...

Apparently the GOP agrees with Methodist for Obama, at least in Ohio. Today I read a story in my local rag quoting Tom Dewine, Ohio GOP leader, blaming Tuesday's losses on a focus on pro-life and pro-family issues. He says the GOP must abandon them and focus on fiscal responsibility and limited Government to attract younger voters. Hope he manages to attract them before he puts his new policies in effect. We pro-life, Christian voters who put him in offices and did much of the campaign work over the years won't be there next time if this is what he does.


7 November 2008 at 22:41  
Blogger Alfred said...

jeff in ohio, I'm surprised by that. In Virginia (Tidewater), to my surprise and disappointment, there seemed to be almost no talk of the pro-life and pro-family issues. I learned more about Obama's policies from Cranmer and Albert Mohler than I did through the TV and the dead tree media, with the exception of some excellent letters to The Editor of the Virginia Gazette. I don't think the discussion of any issues no matter how extreme would have made any difference to those who had decided to vote Obama. Issues were definitely not the issue, if I can say that.

7 November 2008 at 22:58  
Blogger Pam H. said...

Alfred, you MAY say that, as it's been my experience, as well. No statistics on it, but my non-political experience with statistics is that they generally bear witness to the voices of those "in the trenches".

7 November 2008 at 23:37  
Anonymous Jeff in Ohio said...


Your point is well made. I too heard little on life issues from the GOP this campaign. I learned, after the fact, that the U.S. Rep. I knocked on doors for was rated strongly pro-life by Focus Action, but so was the Dem who beat him. Went through the whole campaign not knowing it was a win-win race. Mr Dewine can say he's dumping social issues voters, but they already did functionally. To be fair, we had no life issues on our ballot this election, and the social issues we did have all passed in our favor with bi-partisan support.


8 November 2008 at 13:47  
Anonymous John Valenti said...

Obama won the election for many reasons. Firstly, the Republican candidate was a dinosaur, a relic of the past failures and a big part of our current problems, in short, a loser who did not even know how to run a presedentital campaign. Secondly, the Catholic clergy are mostly a bunch of left wing losers themselves, so don't wait for them to give homilies on the horrors of killing the unborn or preach out against the homosexual agenda. The majority of the people in this country believe that somewhere in that wonderful document we call our Constitution our founding fathers gave us the right to kill the unborn! Thirdly, the news media is extremely left wing and most Americans vegetate in front of the TV and soak up their left wing opinions disguised as news and believe it. Fourthly, Hollywood is extremely left wing and actors and actresses are gods to the immoral majority in this country, and so what those people think, is more important than what the Bible has to say. Fifthly, George Bush has set the Republican Party back 20 years due to his incompetence. Sixthly, the economy is in shambles and the Democrats got away with putting all the blame on the Republicans because they own the media. There is more, as you know but the point is made that the reason there is even a Democratic Party today with the platform it has is because the American majority is immoral. On November 4th that majority spoke with their votes. We will now have the most left wing government this country has ever had and the first people who will be whining and crying about the liberties lost and the injustices and pathetic conditions we will have to endure will be that same majority. Buckle up - it is going to be a rough ride.

9 November 2008 at 20:02  
Blogger Mberenis said...

Obama has already made lending for middle and lower class citizens before he's in the white house! Amazing, read more below..

New Types of Low Interest Loans & Grants from Obama

22 November 2008 at 06:13  
Anonymous moonbeam said...

Re: "ultramontane grumpy old catholic"

Yeah, as a young liberal woman, I can't wait for the Freedom of Choice Act!

I want to have a HUNDRED abortions! Yeah ... lots and lots of them. I've only have 20 or 25 so far (lost track), but I wants me some MORE abortions.

I don't believe in premarital sex, so I was getting pregnant through artificial insemination.

Now I'm married, though, and thankfully I found a husband who loves them abortions as much as me!!! We tries to get pregnant once a month. Maybe some day I'll want to keeps me a baby, but gee whiz, it's fun to gets an abortion every month!!

I also likes rock and roll music on one of them ipod machines, and lots of drugs.

20 December 2009 at 03:43  

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