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Poll: McCain Trounces Obama Among White Evangelicals

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Despite the lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy among some Christian conservative activists, Sen. John McCain so far is performing well among rank and file evangelical voters.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week found McCain collecting about 68 percent of the white evangelical vote, compared to Barack Obama's 22 percent. That number is very similar to level of support President Bush received in June 2004, when he led then Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry 65 to 30 among white evangelicals. And it's essentially unchanged from polls in March, despite the Arizona senator's distancing of himself from evangelical pastors Rod Parsley and John Hagee last month.

In November 2004, Bush won 78 percent of evangelical voters and inspired a strong turnout among them in key states like Ohio, suggesting that McCain can still grow his level of support among this key GOP voting block.

At least one prominent social conservative activist says McCain needs to work harder to woo Christian voters. In a message to his group's e-mail list titled "Values Void," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, lamented what he called the "GOP's near-silence on its core issues" and blasted McCain for not touting moral values issues like abortion more on his campaign website.

"On one nominee's site, visitors can select from featured articles called, 'When Faith Is Front and Center,' 'Reconciling Faith and Politics,' and 'Strengthening Families,'" Perkins writes. "In another section, they can scroll through the priority issues of 'ethics,' 'faith,' and 'family' and read excerpts from speeches, watch video clips, and peruse editorials devoted entirely to this senator's religious conviction. If you attributed that content to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), guess again. The site belongs to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), whose party is vying for the 'values void' created by the GOP's near-silence on its core issues."

Perkins continues: "Unlike Obama's site, McCain's homepage is dedicated to 'energy security,' 'global competitiveness,' and 'Iraq.' Nowhere is faith or family referenced. With the exception of a blurb on human dignity, found on the bottom half of his issues menu, McCain's commitment to and record on social values are glaringly absent."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 18, 2008; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , John McCain  
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