A new Pew Research poll suggest that more Evangelicals are moving toward supporting Obama and ‘mainstream’ protestants have already been favoring him. This is the same demographic that went strongly for George W Bush in the last two elections.
As an evangelical I can give you a pretty good idea of why Obama is appealing. In the past, Evangelicals have pretty much gotten press for being pro-life and opposed to gay marriage (thanks in a large part to people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, blah). But there are a lot of other concerns Evangelicals have that don’t usually get expressed.
Poverty is one of the major issues for Evangelicals. Remember that a lot of Christian movements begin as missions to the poor. An economic policy that is targeted more at addressing the issues of poverty domestically and overseas is a big win for evangelicals. Part of the reason we cheered for Bush was he sold himself as a ‘compassionate conservative’, and his less-publicized work in Africa addressing the problem of AIDS there.
Social Justice is another big concern. We don’t like seeing people get ripped off, whether it be big banks exploiting consumers or the genocide in Darfur. Darfur is a major criticism Evangelicals have of our current government and their lack of initiative to do anything about it. We want someone who will stand up for the oppressed, and strive for fairness domestically and internationally.
Not just with Evangelicals, but also young voters in general, the environment is a big issue. Not just global warming, but ecological preservation and the general well-being of the planet. This is something that was not well addressed by the Bush administration, and needs to be a priority of the next.
Social issues like gay marriage and abortion are certainly around and talked about, but Obama and McCain are very, very close on social issues. McCain’s stance against Roe v Wade helps him with this community, until he talks about making it a state’s rights issue. Obama loses a lot of points for his opposition to the bill against partial birth abortions.
On gay marriage, both candidates seem to be basicall yon the same ground. Evangelicals are generally opposed to the behavior of homosexuality but in the same would like to see them humanely represented. While gay ‘marriage’ doesn’t tend to do well, a ‘union’ is a much debated about option.
But let’s be clear – between Republicans and Democrats, there is no Christian party.