McCain's Lead Among Evangelicals Smaller than Bush's in '04

  • July 17, 2008
  • By Allison Pond

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has a smaller lead among white evangelical Protestants than Republican George W. Bush had at a similar point in the 2004 campaign, even though Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has made few inroads into this key constituency.

Those who are unaffiliated with a particular religion, on the other hand, are just as supportive of the Democratic candidate as they were at this point in the 2004 campaign and are substantially more supportive of Obama than they were of Democratic candidate Al Gore in June 2000.

Meanwhile, there still is a major divide in candidate preference between those who regularly attend worship services and those who seldom or never attend services. These are among the key findings of a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, a sister project of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

About six-in-ten (61%) white evangelicals favor McCain while 25% support Obama. McCain's 36-point advantage among this group is comparable to Bush's lead in 2000 but smaller than Bush's 43-point lead in 2004. Nonetheless, Obama has made no significant gains among this important constituency. The number of white evangelicals who say they would vote for Obama (25%) is about the same as the number who supported the Democratic presidential candidates in June 2004 (26%) and June 2000 (28%). White evangelicals are more undecided today than they were at this point in the previous two presidential elections. More than one-in-ten (12%) white evangelicals say they do not know who they would vote for if the election was held today.

Read the full report McCain's Lead Among Evangelicals Smaller than Bush's in '04 on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.