Guest / Limited Access /

A nationwide Super Tuesday primary may have tightened Sen. John McCain's hold on the Republican presidential nomination. But his candidacy has already exposed divides between evangelical voters and their spokesmen. And with surveys indicating many undecided evangelical voters, experts say Democrats could make inroads, depending on which candidate they eventually nominate.

Evangelical Republicans divided their votes nearly evenly between the top three candidates, according to exit polls. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee collected 34 percent, while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earned 31 percent. McCain followed closely with 29 percent.

Huckabee, despite little official support from conservative leaders, won five Southern states with large numbers of evangelicals. Romney, the preferred candidate of many high-profile conservatives, could not top either Huckabee or McCain in any Bible Belt state.

"Trying to pigeonhole evangelical voters by looking at a few leaders is probably a big mistake," said John Green, senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Forum.

Data about evangelicals and Democrats is sketchy because exit polls did not ask whether voters were born again. Yet a February 4 survey from the Barna Group indicates growing openness of born-again Christians toward a Democratic candidate. Indeed, 40 percent of born-again Christians said they would vote for the Democrats' presidential candidate, compared to 29 percent for the Republicans'. Yet among evangelicals, defined by Barna as a more doctrinally strict subset of born-again Christians, 45 percent said they would vote for the Republican. Only 11 percent pledged support for the Democrat.

Both sets of numbers leave a large swath of undecided ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedPhilip Yancey: Be Pioneers of Grace in a Post-Christian America
Subscriber Access Only Philip Yancey: Be Pioneers of Grace in a Post-Christian America
The author lays out a way to witness after churches have lost their cultural privilege.
TrendingA Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?
A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?
The grand jury has made a decision in Ferguson, now we have to make ours. How will we respond?
Editor's PickStockpiling Treasures in My Junk Closet
Stockpiling Treasures in My Junk Closet
How I got rid of 1,000 things and finally found shalom.
Comments
Christianity Today
Super Tuesday Results Show Split Between Evangelicals and Their ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.