Has Obama’s faith strategy paid dividends?

October 22, 2008

DALLAS – Faith seems to have ducked behind the political curtain in America as economic and market woes take center stage in the White House race between Democrat Barack Obama and his Republican rival John McCain.

The candidate

But Obama’s strong emphasis on his personal Christian faith in the earlier stages of the campaign and his team’s outreach programs aimed at evangelicals and other religious groups seem to be paying off.

At one point Obama’s faith strategy seemed to falter when it emerged that his long-time pastor Jeremiah Wright had made many stridently anti-American sermons.

Obama seems to have weathered that storm.

According to the Pew Research Center, Obama’s widening leads in the national polls in the run up to the Nov. 4 election have been mirrored by gains among a range of religious groupings and denominations.

You can see its survey on voter trends according to religious affiliation here.

For example, in a Pew survey in September, McCain lead Obama among white mainstream Protestant registered voters by 50 to 40 percent. In its latest survey from Oct 16-19, Obama led McCain among registered voters from this group 48 to 43 percent.

White evangelical Protestants remain a key Republican base but Obama has also made inroads here, although they have been very modest. Over the same period McCain’s lead from them has been cut from 71 to 21 percent to 67 to 24 percent.

Non-Hispanic Catholic registered voters surveyed from Sept 9 to 14 favored McCain by 48 to 41 percent. Obama now leads among this group 49 to 41 percent.

Almost 2,600 registered voters were surveyed in the latest poll which has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

The economy’s rough patch is clearly swaying many Americans regardless of their religious affiliation. But is Obama also reaping the fruits of his own “faith strategy?”  

Photo credit REUTERS/Jim Young. Obama speaks to pastor John Kerr and Associate Pastor Jennifer Elmquist outside First Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Aug. 24, 2008

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage


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A far left Media …
A far left President …
A far left Congress …
A far left Senate …
eliminates all the checks and
balances that our democracy is based upon.
A vote for Obama is a vote for voter fraud,
a corrupt media, and the road to Socialism.
God Help Us !!!

Posted by Howard | Report as abusive

Far left line up means The Change We Want and it means Right On! Happy Days are coming! I hope Ralph Nader gets at least 5% of the national popular vote, or at least 1.4% of it. Further the checks and balances will still exist, only now the public and the politicians are much more in agreement on where the country needs to go and that is great news to me!

The Socialist Party USA presidential nominee of the year 2004 (and a prior Oregon state senator) has been nominated for Oregon state Attornery General by the Pacific Green Party in Oregon, another sign of the country moving to leftist values.

Posted by Gavin Young | Report as abusive

Yea Howard. And as you can see the storm is already started. Thanks to Bush & comp.
God protect us all from neoconservative.

Posted by Joe the plummer | Report as abusive

Prior commentators are so stuck on “socialism”, failed Republican programs like Reagonomics and being lost in all the sick cliches left over from bygone McCarthyism, they can’t see what the Bush Republicans have done to this country. And now they want Americans to believe that McCain is not four more years of Dubya. Worse yet, they fail to see how Sarah Palin is totally unqualified to step in as Commander In Chief; however, she does have great economic ability to shop at Nieman Marcus. Just what we need, an overspending comic character from SNL going toe to toe with Vladimir Putin!

Posted by PhoenixTony | Report as abusive

Cut it out with your recipe for DEPRESSION. No checks and balance their when Republicans controlled the house and the senate? What have the past eight years of Conservative rule brought? Did the bring limited government? Overhaul the IRS? Absolutely Not. Give aways to oil companies so Cheney and his pals could rake in billions. Billions wasted on Iraq MONTHLY and no WMD to be found. Oh, but the surge is working now. Overall increase in the federal deficit and now a $700 billion dollar bailout. Howard, you and Joe the plumber don’t even make enough money to have benefited from the Bush tax cuts.

Had McCain had any sense of duty to his country he would have picked a qualified running mate.(Mitt Romeny who would have been valuable on economic issues the past few weeks.) But instead Mr. Maverick McCain is busy licking the boots of the same set of neocons who played dirty tricks on him in 2000. He is resorting to the same tactics used against him. He panders to the extreme right by picking Sarah Palin, who has *NO* qualifications whatsoever to be president. But she is an anti-aborton hockey mom with a Joe Six pack. Go get them Sarah!

Posted by joe | Report as abusive

In this case, it will simply be balancing out the last 8 year of:

A far right Media …
A far right President …
A far right Congress …
A far right Senate …

Obama. 08.
Obama. 12.

We’re almost there…

Posted by kls1116 | Report as abusive

I would love to see a poll of what people around the world would poll if asked who they would like to see win this election. Barack Obama offers hope not just for USA but for the world that someone we can trust and believe in will be president of the worlds richest and most powerful nation. I am sorry to say that from the outside looking in it looks like the USA lost it’s way during the Bush years. You need change and you need Obama to restore international trust in what the rest of the world believed that the USA stood for because many have lost faith after having bush in charge.
T. Bates (Australia)

Posted by T. Bates (Australia) | Report as abusive

We’re heading into a Depression, all right, but the biggest single cause is the deregulation of the financial industry championed by such Republicans as George Bush and John McCain. They stripped away the barriers put in place during the last Depression to keep another one from happening again. (That last Depression, by the way, was exacerbated by Republican J. Edgar Hoover. It took FDR, a Democrat, to help us get out of it.)

I love how you conservatives will always try to shift the blame for all of the problems you’ve created onto the left. The country is on to you now and your Rovian tactics are going to cost you more and more votes in this and every subsequent election. Keep up the good work – we’ll gladly take those votes away from you.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

T. Bates,

The reality is that a significant number of the people who voted for Bush (many of whom will vote for McCain) believe that the United States should pull out of the United Nations. They really don’t care what the rest of the world thinks and especially of what the rest of the world thinks of us. Bush and his henchmen have created a mentality of “You’re either with us or agin’ us.” (“Agin\'” means “against” in his phony Texan-speak – it used to sell well with his base.)

Many of us are glad to hear the rest of the world offer their support to Obama, but in the Red-State view of the world, that just fuels their pathological hatred of things not of the United States. Many Red-Staters consider Obama a foreigner, even though he was born in Hawaii.

As for the last 8 years – remember – Bush didn’t win by much either time and he lost the popular vote in 2000. That year, he was appointed by 5 out of 9 members of the Supreme Court, all 5 of whom were appointed by Republican Presidents, including Papa Bush. It’s not like Baby Bush had massive support, though he certainly acted as if he did.

America is really two countries living within the same borders. There’s Blue America that embraces science, progress, tax fairness, safe abortion, gay rights, and a strong middle class. There’s also Red America that embraces literal Bible interpretation, guns, NASCAR, back-alley abortions, the death penalty, and a two-class system where a small percentage of people have all of the wealth, like Haiti. We do have some folks in the middle, but, as far as I can tell, it’s frequently more because of apathy and disengagement than anything else.

Thanks for your support, but it might not have the intended effect. Your message is welcomed by people already voting for Obama and probably viewed with intense rage (based on the pathological anger I see in the blogs) by many who are not.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

Isn’t the senate part of congress?
it would be senate AND house, not senate and congress… if you are going to berate people at least try to berate them without ignorance…

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Hey, man, I happen to like NASCAR, so to lump that with all the other crap is totally out of line! Take the NASCAR dig back, Dave!

Also, I disagree with Dave’s statement of Democrats endorsing “tax fairness”. My feeling is that one side feels that income tax should be paid by those who can afford it, and the other feel that income tax should be paid by an equal percent, regardless of total income or ability to pay for it. However, one should recognize that neither method is wrong, they are merely different ideals. Personally, I’m in favor of no income tax and instead have a flat sales tax, therefore everyone pays the same amount of tax in percentage value, whether you’re rich, poor, citizen, resident, or foreign visitor.

Posted by Mitch T | Report as abusive

You gotta tip your hat to Obama. This guy is perfect! He’s white and he’s black. He’s against the war in Iraq but supports invading Pakistan. He’s been Muslim and is now Christian. He’s run with Chicago crooks and terrorists but loved by Opra and sponsered by the Kennedy’s. He has a large part of the population believing McCain is a “W” clone but cautions through Biden that he may not be ready to handle a sudden”Manufactured” world calamity.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Saints be praised This man thinks he is a god and people are worshiping him like those in our past worshiped false Idols…Please do not let this man in office.

Posted by Obama “god” NOT! | Report as abusive

Is there any Obama supporters that even research facts? If you google it and watch the videos on youtube you will see how the dems stopped oversight on freddy and fanny, how Obama worked on creating this mortage crisis by taking citibank to court, etc. ust be smart and find out the facts before you vote or even open your mouth

Posted by florida | Report as abusive

Its funny about how this blog post is about Obama’s religious strategy but none of the comments are even centered on that. Christians who may read this, you need to study your Bible–and if you’re really a follower of God, you live by and promote its teachings. Obama is ok with abortion, he attended a church for 20 years that taught life began in Africa in order to instill self esteem, I guess in blacks attending (my Bible says the garden of Eden was near the Euphrates/Tigris rivers–which is modern Iraq–the middle east, not Africa, etc etc. How come the man, a Harvard grad., did not seem some conflict between what he was hearing and what he was reading–if in fact he was reading it. Or did he spend 20 years marinating in false doctrines and teachings, so he is presenting himself as a Christian but promoting very serious and dangerous non biblical practices–he said he wouldn’t want his own daughters punished with an unwanted pregnancy–which means he would allow them an abortion, no doubt. How can Christians get on board with this — someone who would name the name of Christ but promote murder in that name ?

Posted by PD | Report as abusive

To DAVEseMass–

There’s 2 America’s alright–the followers of God and his word (can be dem. or rep.–those ought not be ones defining identities and ruling philosophies anyway) and the followers of the worlds gods–immorality, money, “sex? yes fine anytime with anyone, pass the morning after pill, thank you. Yup, 2 America’s alright.

Posted by 2thenth | Report as abusive

[…] analysis of the same information leads to a completely different conclusion.  Some reports, such as this one by Ed Stoddard from Reuters, give credit to “Obama’s strong emphasis on his personal Christian faith in the earlier […]

Posted by Civil Religion » Blog Archive » The religious swing vote: “white bread” Protestants in the spotlight? | Report as abusive