The Common Good

Ohio exit poll uncovers more evangelical Democrats

Source: Reuters
Date: March 7, 2008
Another exit poll has uncovered more evangelical Democrats and indicates that their agenda seems to be moving beyond the "God, Guns and Gays" focus of the Religious Right’s old culture warriors.

An exit poll commisioned after Ohio’s Tuesday primary by Faith in Public Life, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Sojourners asked both Republicans and Democrats if they were evangelical or born-again Christian. Almost all other polls have only asked this of Republican primary voters as this group is widely regarded as a key base for the GOP.

The poll, conducted by Zogby International, found that 43 percent of white evangelical Ohio primary voters took part in the Democratic primary and 57 percent in the Republican one.

Other national polls still show over 60 percent of white evangelicals firmly in the Republican camp but analysts have said they do not expect them to play quite the same role in this November’s election as they did in the 2004 White House race, when by some estimates around 78 percent of those who cast ballots did so for President George W. Bush.

The Tuesday poll also found that 42 percent of Ohio’s white evangelical voters ranked jobs and the economy as the most important issue area in deciding how to vote versus 14 percent who ranked abortion and same-sex marriage as the most important issue.

Such a finding may not be surprising in a Rust Belt state like Ohio, which has been shedding manufacturing and other jobs. But the poll also found that 54 percent of white evangelical primary voters surveyed wanted a broader agenda such as ending poverty and protecting the environment.

The poll had a fairly wide margin of error of 5 percentage points.