[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%).
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