How the Democrats Match Up among Religious Voters
Religious voters split between Democratic candidates, says John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Sen. Obama has clearly done very well among black Protestants, and that's changed the equation. If you go back to the polls last year that showed Sen. Clinton way ahead, one of the reason was she was winning the black vote by a large margin and that doesn't seem to be happening. White Catholics are really important to the extent that Clinton can hang on to them. One of the tasks for the Obama campaign is to find a way to reach into Catholic community. There's quite a struggle over white Protestants. It appears that Clinton has an edge there as well, so a challenge for Sen. Obama. I see a pretty fierce struggle going forward and religious groups will be part of the mix.
Republican Mike Huckabee continues to surprise the experts.
It's really interesting how well Governor Huckabee has done across the South. He did it very largely with the support of evangelicals where did really quite well. A lot of people thought McCain would win those states because Huckabee and Romney would kind of divide up the evangelical vote. It kind of worked the other way and then Huckabee came out winning because McCain and Romney competed. I don't see a lot of evidence of the broadening of [Huckabee's] base of support. He just did better among evangelicals in the South, and of course evangelicals are numerous among the South. The challenge of Governor Huckabee to expand his appeal is still very much with him.
Mitt Romney has been the more conservative candidate for the Republican party, but he did not do as well among evangelicals.
The evangelical community does seem to be divided. The fact that Governor Huckabee and McCain have done well among evangelicals suggests the evangelical community is open to a broader agenda than they have been in the past. What's most noticeable about them is they have more moderate economic policies. One conclusion that one could draw is a lot evangelicals are ready to move beyond President Bush. They're ready to move on to a more moderate economic policy and a different foreign policy.