With all the attention showered on evangelical Christians and Catholics, we've neglected the religious group partly driving Barack Obama's recent surge in the polls: mainline Protestants.
This bucket includes the historic American churches that once dominated the spiritual landscape but have been losing members in recent years: United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church in the USA, American Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ. Their members represent 18% of the population.
This used to be a solidly Republican group. In 2004, they went for President George W. Bush 54%-46%. This summer, John McCain was leading Sen. Obama among these voters 43% to 40%, according to a study by John Green of the University of Akron.
But an ABCNews/Washington Post poll released Monday showed Sen. Obama now leading among Mainliners 53%-44%, indicating that the undecided voters are breaking heavily for the Democratic candidate.
Why? The superficial answer is, as with so many other questions, the economy. In ...1