The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Democrats Intensify Efforts to Reach Faith Voters

By Michelle Boorstein
The Democratic faith outreach industry is growing.

The two-person consulting firm behind much of the Democratic Party's recent embrace of religion -- Common Good Strategies -- has morphed into two parts: a PAC focusing on raising Obama money from faith voters and an expanded consulting group with four partners, including the faith adviser from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign.

The unveiling today of the Eleison Group -- named after the Christian prayer Kyrie Eleison -- shows the maturation of a field that was essentially non-existent three years ago as many high-level Democratic candidates shied from using faith language or talking about their own religious beliefs.

Today many religion and politics experts believe the top Democratic presidential candidates this year -- including Sens. John Edwards, Clinton and Obama -- have talked more freely about faith than many of the top GOP candidates, including Sen. John McCain.

Among the Eleison Group's co-founders are:

Burns Strider, Clinton's faith outreach director and a former Southern Baptist Convention missionary to Hong Kong.

Eric Sapp, senior partner at Common Good Strategies, which opened its doors in 2005 and did then-unprecedented faith work with Democratic governors Ted Strickland of Ohio, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, as well as Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The new group's client list includes Virginia Congressional candidate Tom Perriello, the Michigan Democratic Party, Oxfam and the Matthew 25 Network - the new pro-Obama PAC focusing on faith voters.

It's unclear how much success the movement will have in the 2008 presidential race. A Washington Post-ABC poll done earlier this month showed the percentage of white evangelical voters -- who make up a little less than a fifth of registered voters -- who say they lean Republican is at about 66 percent, compared with 29 percent who lean Democratic -- numbers not significantly changed since 2004. Voters in general, however, have shifted towards the Democrats.

Democrats point to research showing loyalities could be shifting. According to recent data from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the percentage of white evangelical Protestants aged 18 to 29 who identify as Republican has dropped 15 points between 2002 and 2007, a steeper drop than among the age group overall. Two-thirds of those who have shifted now identify as independent.

Posted at 5:34 PM ET on Jun 24, 2008
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So the democrats want the vote of those of the Christian faith.
When has Barack Obama voted to protect the life of an unborn child? Abortion is the murder of a human being who can't defend themselves. How can you say you disagree with murder but won't vote to ban it and protect an innocent life? Not only is it morally wrong, but there's so many people who would love to adopt these precious children who are being murdered so that the people responsible don't have to go through the pain of taking care of them. It's all about the woman's right but never about the innocent child's life. This is the equivalent of Barack not agreeing with murder but not doing anything when he's in a position to do something and letting people murder other people so as not to offend those who are ok with it. Let's just be politically correct, say the most politically correct things and let democrats like Nancy Pelosi continue to try to silence anyone who opposes her communist agenda.

Posted by: Paul | June 26, 2008 1:41 PM

Given the current state of the Republican Party and past actions of the current administration, many long-time republican religious voters are reconsidering their allegiances and I don't mean their religious convictions. This is the perfect time for Eleison to pop up and help not only the Democratic Party, but people of faith regain their status in the political world. Religious people dominate this country and if Eleison can get them all moving the right (or should I say LEFT) direction, it can swing many key elections. How exciting Eleison is finally speaking directly to religious Democrats! We're listening!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 4:33 PM

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | June 24, 2008 10:47 PM

" ... the faith adviser from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign."

Say what?

Billary sought to ingratiate itself with believers ???

The sight of Bubba or the Hildebeast living by God's rules - what a giggle.

The Clintonista motto (copped from Groucho): "Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Posted by: Chuckamok | June 24, 2008 10:22 PM

Sen. McCain doesn't talk much about his religion ... because he's a bit confused about what it even is. He's been a baptized Episcopalian (went to an Episcopal HS in Alexandria VA) but now goes to Baptist services in AZ, when he goes. Face it; the guy's just not that into religion, all the more hilarious that the evangelical right thinks HE's their best bet this year.

Posted by: straight talk my a** | June 24, 2008 8:07 PM

Anyone that listens to what James Dodson said about Obama and the Bible should remember what Dr. Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptists Oklahoma (and a member of the Americans United Board of Trustees), said about him: "Only a fundamentalist demagogue who has made a career of 'manipulating' and 'brainwashing' people to read the Bible through medieval lenses could find cartoon characters teaching tolerance so threatening."
Key words been " Fundamentalist demagogue"

Posted by: enn | June 24, 2008 8:00 PM

....anyone who believes in God is a "religious extremist."

To: An Dliodoir | June 24, 2008 7:03 PM


No, just the extremist ones. The other ones are just weak willed or under educated.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 7:38 PM

The sodomites and baby killers do make up much of the electorate.

Posted by: | June 24, 2008 7:03 PM


We're not all Republican senators!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 7:34 PM

If the Dems would just dump the sodomites and the baby-killers, the religious folk would be able to stomach a Dem candidate.

The numbers justify the sacrifice. The sodomites and baby killers do NOT make up much of the electorate.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 7:05 PM

If the Dems would just dump the sodomites and the baby-killers, the religious folk would be able to stomach a Dem candidate.

The numbers justify the sacrifice. The sodomites and baby killers do make up much of the electorate.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 7:03 PM

Where does this article mention religious extremists? I venture to guess that the poster above believes that anyone who believes in God is a "religious extremist." Given that 90%+ Americans believe in God, I suggest that the poster is an extremist. I applaud Democratic efforts to reconnect to people of faith!

Posted by: An Dliodoir | June 24, 2008 7:03 PM

DNC - Please avoid the religious extremists groups like the GOP has teamed with.

They are the same as the terrorists - extremists driven by hateful "Religious Leaders".

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 5:42 PM

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