Virtual Voices

Religion and Election 2008

Campaign 2008

Pat Robertson has endorsed Rudy Giuliani, and the Pew Forum reports that he is not the only white evangelical Protestant to do so.

The Pew Forum conducted a survey to find out which candidates certain religious groups prefer. They surveyed Republicans and Democrats separately, dividing the data by the parties' key religious constituents.

Giuliani garnered more support from white Catholics and white mainline Protestants than from white evangelicals, but 23% of white evangelicals still named him their top choice. Thanks to Catholics, who preferred him over the other candidates two-to-one, 32% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters supported Giuliani.

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Fred Thompson got almost equal support from white evangelicals (24%), and John McCain got slightly less (19%). Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney (rated the most religious candidate in another Pew survey) divided the bulk of the remaining evangelical vote, with Huckabee scoring 10% and Romney pulling in 9%.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won a plurality of the vote in all religious groups, making her the frontrunner with 44% of the vote. Religion and race divided Barack Obama and John Edwards voters, with Obama getting twice as many votes from black Protestants as white Catholics. Edwards got only 5% of the black Protestant vote and among white Catholics, did just a little better than Obama.

In another survey, the Pew Forum found that religion isn't proving to be a "clear-cut positive" in the presidential election. Voters still give lip service to the American civil religion, with 69% saying it's important for a president to have strong religious beliefs and 61% saying they'd be less likely to vote for an atheist. But voters view both frontrunners - Hillary Clinton and Giuliani - as the least religious of the candidates. They aren't voting for the candidate they see as most religious - Mitt Romney, a Mormon.

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