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Value voters buck Presidential re-election wave

November 11, 2012

by Institute on Religion and Democracy

White Catholics, Evangelicals and other Protestant voters appear to have returned to their 2004 party voting preferences in 2012, according to two polls released following Tuesday’s voting.

Exit polling released through CNN revealed Protestant Christians (including evangelicals and Mainliners of all races), who made up 53 percent of the electorate, voted 42 percent for President Barack Obama and 57 percent for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Catholics were 25 percent of the electorate, voting 50 percent for Obama and 48 percent for Romney.

Frequency of attendance at religious services revealed a significant gap in support for the candidates, with those attending “weekly” at 39 percent Obama, 59 percent Romney, “occasionally” at 55 percent Obama and 43 percent Romney and “never” at 62 percent Obama and 34 percent Romney.

A second national poll of those who cast ballots Tuesday commissioned by the Faith and Freedom Coalition reported that white evangelicals voted roughly 78 percent for Romney to 21 percent for Obama. Romney’s performance among evangelicals represented a net swing of 10 percent over John McCain’s performance in 2008. It also reported that white evangelicals had increased to 27 percent of voters.

Catholic voters who regularly attend Mass broke 67 percent for Romney to 32 percent for Obama, representing a swing of 35 percent in the direction of the GOP since 2008. Romney also won white Catholics by a margin of 59 percent to 40 percent. Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote driven largely by over performing among Hispanic Catholics.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and interviewed 1,600 actual 2012 voters.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“Despite hopes for liberal inroads among church groups, especially evangelicals, it appears that evangelicals and traditional Catholics voted strongly along conservative lines. Undoubtedly they were motivated at least partly by issues such as marriage, abortion and religious freedom, especially the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on religious groups.

“Whatever the reasons for the election’s final result, it seemingly is not due to lack of active concern from tens of millions of evangelicals and traditional Catholics.”

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