Barack Obama – how the religions voted
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.