McCain, Palin doing less well with younger evangelicals
DALLAS – Republican presidential contender John McCain still retains strong support from white evangelical Protestants, but the 72-year-old Arizona senator’s appeal fades with younger voters from this flock.
It found that McCain has the support of 71 percent of white evangelical Christians versus 23 percent for his Democratic rival Barack Obama.
But the numbers narrow somewhat for evangelicals under the age of 30, to 62 percent for McCain to 30 percent for Obama.
McCain has solidified his support with this important component of the Republican base with his choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin — a staunch conservative Christian and mother of six — as his running mate.
But the survey found that while older white evangelical women were among Palin’s most ardent supporters, women below 30 from that group were far less enthusiastic about her.
It found Palin’s favorability rating among white evangelical women below 30 was only 46 percent; compared with 65 percent for white evangelical women over 30.
President George W. Bush took close to 80 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2004, underscoring its importance to the Republican Party.
Democratic strategists have hoped to make at least some headway into this monolith. Overall, the 2004 election was a close one so even a few votes poached from the other side, especially in closely contested states such as Colorado or Ohio, could make a huge difference to the outcome of the Nov. 4 White House race.
The survey involved 1400 adults, 18 years or older, including an oversample of 400 evangelical Christians ages 18-29. It was conducted September 4-21, 2008.
The margin of error for white evangelical Christians surveyed is 4.1 percent and rises to 5.5 percent for those between the ages of 18 and 29.
(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jim Bourg, Sept 26, 2008, USA. Combination images of Senators McCain and Obama speaking at first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi)