Jewish Journal

Younger evangelicals less tied to McCain

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 2, 2008 | 1:08 pm

It’s sometimes frustrating as a reporter when you are interviewing political experts and strategists and they hedge on their election predictions. It’s also refreshing, because it seems like every day there is a new crumbling constituency whose potential for some of its members to vote for the party not traditionally their own could have dire consequences for Barack Obama or John McCain or Elisha Shapiro.

I’ve written plenty about Obama’s Jewish problem—too much really—and a little about McCain’s Jesus problem. On the latter, Religion News Service brings us up to speed:

While Sen. John McCain maintains a winning margin among white evangelical Christians of all ages, young white evangelical voters are less supportive of McCain than evangelical voters over the age of 30, according to the poll conducted for the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly” by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc.

McCain has the support of 71 percent of white evangelicals, but only 62 percent of white evangelicals between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Evangelical voters have been so solidly Republican in the last 20 years, so if this signals a shift, it could have wide-ranging political implications,” said Kim Lawton, the managing editor of “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”

Some differences on social issues also were highlighted in the survey. A majority of younger white evangelicals support some form of legal recognition for civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples. Older evangelicals are strongly opposed.

Both age groups remain solidly opposed to abortion.

This really wouldn’t be that surprising. The evangelical voting bloc is still struggling with losing Mike Huckabee in a Republican primary that featured a Mormon, a pro-life Catholic, McCain and no George Bush.

But there has been talk for over a year that evangelicals might vote Democrat, and still it seems like Obama couldn’t break the Republican hold on evangelical voters.

Not sure if anything has changed, or if this is the latest flavor-of-the-week survey.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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