Tales from the Trail

Evangelicals also worry about economy-survey

January 24, 2008

U.S. evangelicals are more concerned about the slumping economy and cleaning up government than they are about so-called hot button social issues such as abortion, according to a new online poll by Beliefnet, a religious news service.

The survey of 980 self-described “evangelical born again” Christians between Jan. 17-23 also found about 41 percent of the respondents identified themselves as Republican and about 30 percent as Democratic.rtr1w5ly.jpg

White evangelical Protestants are regarded as a key Republican base which helped secure President George W. Bush two White House terms, partly because issues such as abortion and gay marriage galvanized them to go to the polls. Bush picked up as much as 80 percent of the votes cast by this group.

The Beliefnet poll found that 85 percent of evangelicals ranked the economy and “cleaning up government ” as the most important or very important issues. By contrast, about 61 percent gave these rankings to ending abortion and 49 percent to halting gay marriage.

However, the poll was not entirely scientific, it was promoted on Beliefnet’s Web site and through its newsletters. Respondents weren’t alerted that this was a poll of evangelicals, but Beliefnet culled these responses only from those who said they were “evangelical or born again.”

Still, the survey is the latest piece of evidence to suggest that U.S. evangelicals have political concerns which go far beyond divisive cultural issues.

Religion plays a big role in politics in America, where levels of belief and regular worship are far higher than they are in Europe. Evangelicals, who tend to take their religion very seriously, number about 60 million or one fifth of the U.S. population.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

– Photo credit: Reuters/Chip East

Comments
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This note is in response to another article by Ed Stoddard. He equated belief in God with Christianity and the fact that people would be less likely to vote for someone who “didn’t believe in God”. “God” is NOT just a christian thought. Lots of people who are not christians believe in God. That’s the problem with christians; they think God and christianity are mutually exclusive. You don’t have to be a christian to believe in God. I am not. I will not affiliate myself with christianity because of all the hypocritical people belonging to that faith, even though I was brought up christian. There’s a vast difference between being of the christian persuasion and actually being a practicing christian. As the saying goes “If you don’t walk the walk, don’t talk the talk.”

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