The Common Good

Post-Election Fight over the 'Evangelical' Brand

Date: November 20, 2012

While social conservative groups think that the election loss was due to a failure of Republicans to emphasize social issues, other evangelical leaders are calling for a divorce of evangelicalism from partisan politics.

Sojourners president Jim Wallis said the elections were not a disaster for evangelicals per se, just those who "had again tied their faith to the partisan political agenda of the Republican Party."

Wallis wants evangelicals to be defined by their faith, not their politics. "Evangelical," said Wallis, is too often equated with "conservative white evangelical."

According to a post-election poll by the Pew Center for the People and the Press, 22 percent of Americans are white, self-described evangelicals. Of these, 84 percent voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. When non-whites are included in the evangelical category, evangelicals make up 31 percent of the electorate. This also makes them less Republican, but still solidly in the GOP camp. 65 percent of all evangelicals voted for Romney, keeping it one of the most-Republican demographic groups in the electorate.