Monthly church attenders swing Obama’s way

October 8, 2008

Americans who attend church once or twice a month have become a sought after “swing vote” — and they are swinging to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in the run-up to the Nov 4. presidential election.


That is one of the key findings of a new survey conducted by Public Religion Research on behalf of Faith in Public Life, a non-partisan resource center.

It found that, based on religious service attendance, the biggest shift in candidate preferences between 2004 and 2008 was among those who went once or twice a month. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry got 49 percent of their vote in 2004 while Obama is now pulling 60 percent.

But in a reflection of the 2004 race, Obama’s Republican rival John McCain “maintains a significant advantage among voters who attend more frequently, while Obama has a nearly identical advantage over McCain among those who attend less than a few times a month or never,” the survey says.

Among those who attend religious services more than twice a week, the survey found McCain leads Obama 60 percent to 34 percent. Kerry in 2004 garnered 35 percent of that vote.

McCain also maintains a significant lead with white evangelical Protestants, a key Republican base which helped propel President George W. Bush to power. This base has been energized by McCain’s selection of staunch conservative Christian Sarah Palin as his running mate and the Arizona senator leads Obama among them by 68 to 25 percent.

Among younger white evangelicals between the ages of 18 and 34 that narrows to 65 to 29 percent — a finding in keeping with other polls on the subject. This suggests Obama has made some inroads into the evangelical political monolith though his gains have been minimal despite an extensive faith outreach program.

The survey also found that 49 percent of Americans think Obama is friendly to religion and 45 percent think McCain is friendly to religion — numbers that both candidates may find discouraging since neither chalks up a majority on that score.

The survey includes a national sample of 2,000 adults including an oversample of 974 respondents aged 18 to 34. It was conducted from Aug 28 to Sept 19, so it was obviously before the second televized presidential debate. The margin of error for the broader survey is +/- 2.5 percent and for the younger group it is +/- three percent.

(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jim Bourg, Sept 27, 2008, USA. Combination images of the presidential candidates)


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Many times during the election cycle, the polls are just to fantastic to believe. This one ranks among them. According to this poll, we are supposed to believe that religious churchgoers favor Obama. Yes, the same Obama who attended a racist black liberation theology church for over 20 years, and considered its racist pastor to be his “mentor and spiritual adviser.” The same Obama who supports partial birth abortion, which is taking a late-term baby, pulling it out of the mother’s womb feet first, puncturing a hole in its skull, sucking its brains out until the skull collapses, and then pulling the dead baby from the mother. The same Obama who tried desperately to prevent a law which would have banned the murder of live babies who survived a botched abortion attempt. Yes, the mainstream media wants us to believe that the majority of those who believe in God, support a racist baby killer. I don’t think so.

Posted by Fred Jones | Report as abusive

Just because one chooses to do other things with ones life does not mean that you are not aware of what’s going on in the nation or the world for that matter. These very people are still americans who have the right to do with their vote as they like. And the fact that they are leaning toward barack obama show that people are whatching and hearing. GOOD JOB FOLKS! Keep looking and hearing if nothing else it’s your duty to vote…

Posted by we will | Report as abusive

I Happen to love my GOD. Yet still i have to ask.. Is not your god like my god ? One who forgives; Who has mercy and compassion for all. Is this the same GOD you say you belive in?? Because my telling people how to do whatever they so choose to do with they’er own body. Is agianst the very nature of the GOD i know and love. So stop using God for cover and own up to the fact that you just want people to do what you want. It will not work anymore!

Posted by we will | Report as abusive

I go to church nearly every Sunday and accept Jesus Christ as my savior and I’m voting for Obama. Christ taught us to minister to the poor and needy, not the evil and greedy. I trust Obama to make a better effort at this ministry than McCain. I support Obama for a variety of other reasons, too, but this is certainly a big factor.

Some of the members of my church are voting for McCain – we seem to be about 60/40 Obama/McCain, which reflects the general views of our part of the state as a whole. We’re in a mainstream Protestant church.

The reality is that there are a few Christians left who focus on love, tolerance, support for the poor, and the state of the environment and don’t worry as much about homosexuality, abortion and all the other things that seem to irk the hell out of conservative “Christians”.

Jesus hung out with the worst elements of his day – prostitutes, tax collectors, and probably abortionists. Conservative “Christians”: Get over your self-righteous outrage and minister to people. Jesus found a way – you can, too. You’ll find that life is better when you drop that bitterness and learn to love and accept everyone.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

Would Jesus vote republican?

Posted by Phil | Report as abusive

Jesus would vote for some Republicans. They’re not all evil. The Northeast once had some truly compassionate Republicans that actually cared about people other than Wall Street tycoons.

Unfortunately, many of these tolerant, compassionate Republicans have frequently been criticized by the conservative Republicans for effectively not being evil enough.

Former Governor Bill Weld (R-MA) certainly incurred a lot of wrath for trying to be in the political center. Most of that wrath came from Conservative “Christians”. I voted for Weld – probably the last Republican for whom I will vote unless the party goes through some radical changes.

Perhaps, if Obama absolutely destroys McCain, the GOP might rethink their strategy of picking Palin and realize that more of us in the country are saner than they realized and that, in 2012, they should quietly seek to distance themselves from the ignorant, redneck wing of the party.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

If the “Christian right” ever encountered Jesus, they’d call him a !@#$ liberal. The Christian right = modern day Pharisees.

Posted by Karen | Report as abusive

[…] Monthly church attenders swing Obama’s wayReuters – 34 minutes ago… a sought after “swing vote” — and they are swinging to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in the run-up to the Nov 4. presidential election. …Video: McCain and Obama clash in TV debate – 08 Oct 08 AlJazeeraEnglishThe new Obama button Atlanta Journal ConstitutionThe debate: The McCain-Obama waltz MSNBC San Jose Mercury News  – Christian Science Monitor all 2,528 news articles […]

Posted by Monthly church attenders swing Obama’s way – Reuters | Report as abusive

In response to “Fred Jones”: Fred, did you even read this article?! It does not say that a majority of churchgoers support Obama. It says a majority of people who attend church ONCE OR TWICE a month support him. So that should vindicate addle-brained hate-mongers such as yourself, who usually equate church attendance with piety. In other words, only backslidin’, fair-weather Christians and Catholic-types support him, not the honest, God-fearing, flag-waving hypocritical sheep who go to church every Sunday. And that’s good news, right Fred?

Posted by The Reverend | Report as abusive

I’m a registered Democrat. I attend a non-denominational Christian church. I’m probably considered rather liberal by most people; I’m pro-choice for example.

I will not be voting for Barack Hussein Obama (or Barry Soetoro) at this point. I’m probably one of those “swing voters” referred to in the article. So far, Obama strikes me as a big fake — and the thought of putting a con-artist into the White House concerns me. At least when I saw that George W. won/stole the presidency, I was able to anticipate how toxic he’d be for our nation. With Obama, who knows? I’m not crazy about McCain either — but at least I can tell that he’s committed to doing what he thinks is good for the United States NOT just commited to doing whatever is good for himself, like Obama seems. By the way, whenever I get asked whom I’m voting for, I tell people Obama, just to avoid an argument. Obama telling his followers, that act like he’s the second coming or something, telling them to “get into people’s faces” is crazy and dangerous. I feel intimidated to even tell my own friends that I don’t like Obama.

Posted by JJ | Report as abusive

I do not believe Jesus would vote Democrat in this election. If Jesus was humanly alive today, I believe he would have influenced the masses to pick a qualified candidate who cares for people, which neither of the two running do. They only care about smearing bad, exaggerated, out of context information about their opponent in hopes to get brownie points from people who look no further than the TV commercials for their basis to vote.

Posted by GHS | Report as abusive

What would Jesus do? He would not vote for MORE and MORE Wars. That’s for sure…

Posted by Silvia | Report as abusive

you know when obama was in Illinois as a senator his favorite vote was present. now when the US is in a financial crisis that was caused by obama, chuckie scummer, chris dope, barney frank, peloski and reid,what did obama do PHONE IN. We can’t have a person for president that can’t handle a crisis. Thank a democrat in NOV VOTE NO NO obama

Posted by jake | Report as abusive

Somehow I am not suprised that laisez-faire Christians, and by that I mean the kind that drop into church when it strikes their fancy, would vote for Obama. He also takes a “take it or leave it according to what I feel” attitude toward scripture. His abortion and homosexuality stands show that he puts political expediency ahead of what God says we are to stand for or against. And his “its above my paygrade” answer re: when life begins given at Saddleback Forum–oh please. A Harvard grad without basic reading, comprehension and reasoning skills? Amazing.

Posted by Pd | Report as abusive

Obama IS the man for the so-so, lukewarm Christian who only shows up to church when they feel like it or it is convienent — his stand on abortion shows that

Posted by jam | Report as abusive

I am part of a listserve called evangelicals for obama, and also part of a group Matthew 25, based on that passage where Jesus was speaking to his disciples about when they fed him, clothed him, and gave him food to eat because they did it for the least of them. Obama has proven with his career, his record, his choices, and his life that he is the recipient of Jesus’ words in Matthey 25 because he cares about the downtrodden, the people that some Republicans would rather write off than provide assistance to. Service is my mantra, and Obama is super smart. He could have had any job he wanted and made tons of money. Instead, he chose to help the community and continues to help the community – the national community. He’s not perfect; no candidate is; however, I really believe (after praying, seeking, and doing extensive research on all fronts) that my vote will be the right one.

Posted by Erica | Report as abusive

Lets be honest.
John McCain had a “pastor problem”::: Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley.
Sarah Palin has a “pastor problem” and a “witch doctor problem”::: Pastor Muthee.
The fact is, if Jesus voted in this election, he’d pass on the Republican ticket. Sarah Palin’s mudslinging is disgraceful.
She and McCain should be ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES!!!
Jesus obviously wants Obama to win.
God bless America!!
And God punish that moose hunting, loving, hockey mom.

Posted by Sarah Palin’s retarded child | Report as abusive

Well my God seems to tell us what to do all the time. The Ten Commandments do not seem to include one to tolerate everything but rather a bunch of things we are supposed to not do with our bodies. If I recall the gospel is filled with Jesus telling people what to do, and then the new testament is filled with the apostles preaching to people what to do with their own bodies, and chastising those who do not do what they are supposed to do. True religion is something you conform yourself to, you are a different person because of it. It shouldnt be something you seek out to match what you already believe. Yes we should tend to the poor, and the economy is down, but wouldn’t the whole country do better with less sin in it. Abortion kills more human lives than any war, or any punishment. shouldn’t that be our main and dominant concern?

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Obama is my choice-he and his family are interested in the well-being of human beings. He truly cares about us. He is honest and forthright–no nasty comments about the other party contestants yet there is plenty he could say about their pasts. Vote for a Man who cares.

Posted by naomi marcus | Report as abusive

Jesus would vote Democrat because He cares for the poor and the disadvantaged.He would abhor the hypocrisy of the Republican party.

Posted by averagemom | Report as abusive

Obama has/had a racist, Amercian hating Pastor….. so who are any of us to judge….

Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord.

If obama becomes President it’s because he has tested this country and found it to be useless and has no use for us.
Any Christian who actually reads the Word of God knows that not standing up for the right to life is not acceptable and isnt anything Jesus would stand for. Jesus forgave those who committed their sins NO MORE, not those who kept practicing them.

Please no more once or twice a week pew hoggers telling others what Jesus or GOd wants for this country.

Posted by So Sad | Report as abusive

Obama doesnt care about the poor. What exaclty has he done for them? What has he done for them as Senator of the great state of Illinois? What did he do for the Chicago public schools when he was supposed to be giving out millions to help them? NOTHING. No changes.
The government isnt SUPPOSED to help the poor.
The only ones who want barak to win are those who want a hand out. Those who cant help themselves. The only people the gov’t should be helping are the elderly/disabled/veterans. Everyone else needs to take responsibity for their own lives, for their own families.
Get off your Arse and get a job, pay your bills, stop living outside of your means. quit doing drugs and killing your own.
If we all learn to sacrifice a little and not expect the government to save us we would be able to save ourselves.

What a sad place this is to live.
And God help us if it’s taken over by Liberals that go by any party line.

Posted by So Sad | Report as abusive

Would Jesus talk to terrorists?

Posted by Phil | Report as abusive

I attend church every Sunday, most Wednesdays, Bible study Tuesday and Wedenseday morning, read my Scripture of the day, do I have to go on and does that make me super-religious. I do these things because they help me be more and more like my Lord and Savior, not to impress anyone or to assert any religious authority. (I am sick at heart hearing Christians say no Christian could ever vote for -insert candidate name.) I will be voting for Sen. Obama because I think he will be best for our country and his policies, in my opinion, carry forward the teachings of Scripture more than Sen. McCain’s. I do not condemn anyone who thinks otherwise. I try hard to have my faith influence how I think a secular government should behave, I pray for the government, and I trust God is always in control. I do not need to call names or add hate languange to a world already too filled with hate.

Posted by Jack Morris | Report as abusive

This is not the time to mix politics with religion, but definitely IS the time to use a bit of faith and intelligence.

It is obvious to me that McCain and his joke of a neo-VP would be the presidential team from hell.

If America wants to go to hell in a basket then simply vote for McCain.

If it wants to save itself from hell, vote for Obama!

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

Judeo-Christian principle’s(the basis of the formation &
rise of America) which is based on the spirit of Freedom
should not be confused with Christian Doctrine(having it’s origin to the colonial past & mired with politics , which was rejected by George Washington).
Unfortunately the Angilicans do represent that doctrine & it is influencing the Americian life. Christianity can be seen at its best in community services & works related to support & lifting the downtrodden & ordinary & is worst seen when it comes to politics. This is the difference between Christian Principles & Christian Doctrine. George Washington sure was no fool & so do I feel of Obama.

Posted by phil | Report as abusive

Would Jesus support universal heal care?

Posted by Phil | Report as abusive

Not every American is a Christian. As a non-Christian I could give a rats arse what God or Jesus had to say in the bible.

As a non-Muslim, I could give a rat’s arse about what Mohammed has to say.

As an Atheist, I give a rat’s arse about anyones religious dogma or their religious morals.
I care only about the future of my country and my children.

Obama is the man to secure that future, not McCain.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

What most people fail to comprehend is that God will judge those who go against the holy word in the bible. We can not obscure His word for our own purpose or to suit our needs and still say we are Christian. So those of you who think its ok to abort an innocent child or that homosexual marriages are ok you will face judgement. Yes as Christian’s we need to look at the overall picture at the situations such as poverty, and the like but we can not turn away from God’s word. If most people would realize that our econmic statis has to do with poor management of these companies by their greedy CEO’s who should bare the responsiblities for the failure. Instead they are rewarded with buy outs or compensation packages that are outragously high for failing, what would they get if they were successful? I don’t even want to imagine it. As a whole our country have turned our backs on God and do whatever we want and think that we will be foregiven because of Christ blood. Well you all are sadly mistaken because going against the Word and continuing to live a sinfull life you will reap what you sow! Not my words but the words from the Holy Bible! Neither of the choices for presidential canidates are a great pick! But I would want someone who isn’t going to allow the degradiation of the morals of our country! so vote Ralph Nader!

Posted by Tom Hart | Report as abusive