November 6th, 2008
09:09 PM ET

How the faithful voted

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.voters.chicago.gi.jpg]The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

President-elect Barack Obama made a concerted effort to reach out to people of faith during the 2008 presidential campaign, and early exit polls show that this outreach may have paid off on Election Day. Among nearly every religious group, the Democratic candidate received equal or higher levels of support compared with the 2004 Democratic nominee, John Kerry.

Still, a sizeable gap persists between the support Obama received from white evangelical Protestants and his support among the religiously unaffiliated. Similarly, a sizeable gap exists between those who attend religious services regularly and those who attend less often.

Religious Affiliation and the Vote
In Obama's victory over Republican nominee John McCain, the Democrats' largest gains (eight percentage points) were seen among those who are unaffiliated with any particular religion; fully three-quarters of this group supported Obama. This group has also been a big part of the Democratic coalition in the previous two presidential elections, 61% having supported Al Gore in 2000 and 67% having supported Kerry in 2004.

Catholics, too, moved noticeably in a Democratic direction in 2008; overall, Catholics supported Obama over McCain by a nine-point margin (54% vs. 45%). By contrast, four years ago, Catholics favored Republican incumbent George W. Bush over Kerry by a five-point margin (52% to 47%).


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Religion
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. steve

    I'm one of those Christians that takes offense to obamas comments about this country and the position of Christianity in it. I chose not to participate in his success until he sets the record straight. I'm one of those greedy people that find offense to people taking the money I earn and I am now pulling back spending and charity. I will consider his tax increases my Charitable contributions. My household is like any good business. When the goverment taxes that tax is passed along to the consumer. In my case the consumer is school programs, civic contributions and yes I give generously to a homeless shelter. They can go to the Feds.

    November 7, 2008 at 12:52 am |
  2. Carla R

    Another favorite quote of mine is by Noam Chomsky. "If you're in favor of free speech, then you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you're not in favor of free speech."

    November 6, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  3. Mark Collins

    Trying to please the far right McCain did not offer his true identity. Choosing Palin was also a departure from his true political ideology.
    This was just disingenuous enough to loose the undecided group.
    The difference was more pronounced when standing across from someone who was very sincere. If he had shown more of those qualities he demonstrated in his concession speech it would have been a much closer race.

    November 6, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  4. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    You guys are totally misplacing religion and politics here. People regardless of faith voted for Obama because he was the best person to actually run this nation not because he can quote scripture.

    The Catholics I know for example don't vote for a candidate because of his/her stand on abortion. They vote the candidate based on how they think he/she will run the nation !!!!!!! There are a few brainwashed religious zealots out there that might vote on myopic religious dogma (they are no better than Islamic fundamentalists as far as I'm concerned) but they and have ALWAYS been in a minority. Karl Rove and those who still listen to him are the few left who honestly believes they aren't.

    November 6, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    It seems like most groups of people that you can look at, except for those people that will vote GOP no matter what, voted in increasing margins for Obama. Hopefully this will translate into an American society that is less polarized and more willing to work together.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 6, 2008 at 9:26 pm |