05/02/2006 - President Bush's job approval rating has fallen, and his personal favorability is down significantly as well, leading many Republicans to worry about the impact a weakened president will have on his party's showing in the fall mid-term elections. Even among one of the president's most supportive constituencies, white evangelical Protestants, Mr. Bush has suffered declines. Given the importance of evangelicals for the electoral successes of the Republican Party over the past several years, how serious is Bush's slump among this key voter group for the party's prospects this fall?
A new analysis by the Pew Research Center finds that while the president still has the support of a majority of white evangelical Protestants, significantly fewer of them now approve of his performance in office (55% approve, 38% disapprove) than was true at the start of his second term when 72% approved and only 22% disapproved.
Indeed, since he began his second term in office, Bush's approval rating has declined as much among white evangelicals as among the public as a whole. In addition, his personal ratings among evangelicals are also now more negative than ever before - 35% now have an unfavorable view of Bush, compared with 21% of registered evangelical voters in October 2004. Moreover, 45% of evangelicals agreed with the statement that "I am tired of all the problems associated with the Bush administration" - less than a majority but a sizable number nonetheless.
Yet there is little indication, as of now, that evangelicals are likely to abandon the Republican Party electorally. Pew's polling finds that the percentage of white evangelicals identifying as Republicans has actually increased slightly in 2006, and the number of these who say they intend to vote for Republican candidates this November is no lower now than it was at a comparable point in 2002, the last mid-term election.
Read the full article Will White Evangelicals Desert The GOP? So Far, This Most Republican Of Groups Is Staying Loyal on the Pew Research Center Web site.