Are you ready for the Obamagelicals? That's right. I'm not kidding.
The guys over at Beliefnet are great. Major Kudos to Steven Waldman and Dan Gilgoff for this effort. They have put together a survey that details the views of Evangelical voters for Obama and McCain. “Obamagelicals” is the term they’re using for those who sided with Obama. Read a portion of their findings below:
Nationally, 25% of white evangelicals voted for Obama. In certain key states, the numbers were higher. He saw a 14% increase in support from white evangelicals in Colorado, 8% in Indiana, 8% in North Carolina and 4% in Ohio. Most important, he won 32% of young evangelicals (up from 16% for McCain).
One of the most striking differences relates to their reading of Scriptures. 58.7% Obamagelicals say "the Bible is divinely inspired but not everything in it is the literal word of God," compared to 40% who said "The Bible is the literal word of God." For McCain evangelicals, the percentages were reversed: 74.7% said it was the Bible is the word of God and only 24.6% said the Bible was divinely inspired.
Obamagelicals support gay civil unions, McCain evangelicals don't. Obamagelicals are far more supportive of gay marriage than McCain evangelicals, but on balance they don't support gay marriage either. Only 28.7% said they supported gay marriage. The big difference is that most McCain voters want neither marriage nor civil unions (66.4% of McCain voters wanted neither), whereas a substantial number of Obamagelicals support civil unions or domestic partnerships (53.4%).
Almost all McCain and Obama evangelicals believe that reducing the number of abortions is important. But they different dramatically on the right way to achieve that goal. 61% of McCain evangelicals believed that the best approach is through legal restrictions while only 8% of Obamagelicals believed that. Instead, 86.3% of Obama's supporters said the best way is "by preventing unintended pregnancy (through education and birth control), or providing financial assistance to pregnant mothers."
As a result of these different perspectives on how to reduce abortion, they also differed sharply in their expectations about the impact of the President. Among Obama's evangelicals, 50.4% believe the abortion rate is unlikely to be affected by an Obama or McCain presidency, while 27.2% believe it will likely fall more under Obama and only 4.2% that it would fall more under McCain. This seems to indicate that the argument of progressive pro-lifers - that abortion rates could go down more under Obama - has only been half persuasive. Obama evangelicals don't believe a McCain presidency would actually reduce abortion, but they're not that convinced that Obama would be much better.
McCain voters, of course, disagree. 57.6% believe abortion would be lower under McCain. (That actually struck me as quite low. Stated another way, 42.4% of evangelical or Born Again Christians who voted for McCain have no confidence that abortion would have actually declined under a McCain presidency).
The whole Beliefnet survey is here.
I’m sure conservative Evangelicals are shaking their head wondering how anybody calling themselves an “Evangelical” could support civil unions. Look folks, there is a deeper conversation somewhere here about what constitutes an Evangelical but in the meantime here’s a point to ponder: these “Obamagelicals” may indeed represent a growing movement within Evangelical circles. Collectively, they will be seen as a threat to the traditional values camp. Under an Obama presidency, will we see a power shift to this kind of Evangelical? The “Obamagelicals” could very well be the ones with access to The White House and thus a loud soapbox for their emerging views which place a priority on different compassion issues.
Are you nervous? Are you excited? Either way, remember God is on the throne right? Hey, don’t worry, be happy. Click here to see what I mean.