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Exit Poll Analysis Shows “Religious Rebalancing”

November 5, 2008, 1:49 pm | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

An analysis of the national exit polls, conducted by Public Religion Research and FPL, shows Obama making inroads among religious voters:

(PDF of these findings available here.)

Religious attendance and the so-called “God Gap”:

– Obama increased his share among all church attendance groups, but he made his greatest gains among voters who attend church more than once per week, narrowing a 29-point GOP advantage (64% – 35%) to a 12-point GOP advantage (55% – 43%). This represents an 8-point increase among a strongly Republican group.

– Obama won monthly attenders 53% – 46%, while Kerry lost them 49% – 51%, a 4-point pickup.

Roman Catholics:

– Obama beat McCain soundly among Catholics (55% – 44%), performing better than Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000.

– Among white Catholics, Obama narrowed the Republican advantage from Bush’s 13-point advantage (56% – 43%), with McCain holding only a 5-points advantage (52% – 47%).

– In FL, Catholics swung from the Republican party to the Democratic party. Obama improved upon Kerry’s Catholic performance by 16 percentage points, from trailing by 15 points in 2004 (57% – 42%) to leading by 1 point (50% – 49%) in 2008.

– In IN, a 13-point GOP advantage in 2004 (56%-43%) disappeared, with Catholics split evenly between the candidates (50%-50%).

– However, in PA, McCain won Catholics 54%-46%, increasing GOP advantage from Bush’s margin of 52%-48%.

White Evangelicals:

– White evangelicals turned out solidly (23% of the vote) and strongly supported McCain (75% to 24%), but evangelical support for McCain was 5 points lower than support for Bush (79%) in 2004.

– In a number of states (including OH, MO, MI, IN, and NC) white evangelical turnout increased over 2004, but this increase did not favor McCain. For example:

– In NC, white evangelical turnout was up 6 points from 36% to 42%, but McCain’s support (75% to 24%) was down 9 points from the strong advantage Bush held over Kerry (84% to 16%).

– In OH, white evangelical turnout increased by 5 points (from 25% of the electorate in 2004 to 30% in 2008) and McCain’s support (70% to 28%) was down 6 points from Bush’s 76%-24% lead in 2004.

– In CO, GOP advantage narrowed by 15 points among white evangelicals, from 86%-14% in 2004 to 71%-27% in 2008.

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