“The most conservative white Protestants, he says, are all but
off-limits to the Democrats. But then there are more than 22 million voters he
calls “freestyle Evangelicals,” worried about not only their eternal souls but
also their kids’ schools, their car’s fuel efficiency and the crisis in Darfur.
In the past, those voters may have leaned Republican in part because the GOP has
been far smarter about presenting itself as friendly to people of faith while
painting the Democrats as a bunch of sneering, secular coastal élites. But
the Republican lock on Evangelicals may be breaking. The percentage of white
Evangelicals who self-identify as Republicans has declined from roughly 50% in
2004 to about 44% this past February, according to Green. Now the number is
closer to 40% as more Evangelicals choose to label themselves independents.
“There is a loosening of the Republican coalition, particularly among people
under 30,” Green says, “but it is not yet a movement toward the Democrats. It is
a small but real change.””
There was a very interesting article in the Time this week about Democratic leaders now being willing to talk about their faith in the public arena. To read the article, click here. Some may see this as only a contrived effort to get more religious votes, others a sincere step forward. In any case, the article was a breath of fresh air for me, that this complete bifurcation and assumption that all Christians are Republicans is starting to break down. Here is a taste of the article: