Barna Group Suggested Obama's Share of 2012 Evangelical Vote Could Double
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 01:59:04 PM EST
Amidst digging into the Democratic Party's faith outreach effort for another piece, I came across a striking pre-2012 election voter preference survey from the Barna Group that forecast Barack Obama's support from evangelical voters could double in the 2012 election as compared to support Obama got from evangelicals in 2008, 11%. What happened ? Well, Obama's support from Catholic and minority evangelicals rose slightly, but his support from white Protestant evangelical and born-again Christians plummeted, from 26% in '08 to 20% in '012. Whoops: especially for the DNC's faith outreach effort.  
It's especially intriguing because the Barna Group's forecast for all voters was so accurate - the Group predicted a 52% to 48% split with the slim majority going for Obama in 2012: a striking level of accuracy.

But when it came to forecasting the evangelical vote split, the Barna Group's forecast could hardly have been more off. According to the Barna survey,

"In the 2008 election, a Barna Group election study found that evangelicals gave Mr. Obama just 11% of their votes, even though Republican challenger John McCain was generally not appreciated much by the group. One of the most striking changes emerging from the new study is that if evangelicals wind up supporting the eventual candidates in November in numbers consistent with their current preferences, Mr. Obama will receive double the support from the evangelical community he garnered four years ago (22%)."

I came across the Barna Group survey in an article on the John C. Danforth Center For Religion and Politics website, Meet Derrick Harkins, the Pastor Behind the Democratic Party's Faith Outreach, which noted, of Harkins,

"He has one goal until election day: to get America's faithful as fired up--and more--for Democrats and Obama as they were in 2008. The party made great strides four years ago in conveying themselves as values voters. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Obama picked up 26 percent of the white evangelical vote, up from John Kerry's 21 percent in 2004. He made even stronger gains among religious voters under age 40: he received 33 percent of their vote versus Kerry's 12 percent."

It didn't work out the way Harkins had hoped.

According to the results of a Pew Research Center survey, as covered by the Huffington Post, Obama's "share of the vote increased among four religious groups identified in exit polling data: Hispanic Catholics (from 72 percent to 75 percent), black Protestants (from 94 percent to 95 percent), non-Protestant black Christians (from 94 percent to 95 percent), and those affiliated with Islam and "other faiths" (from 73 percent to 74 percent)."

But Obama did distinctly worse among white Protestant born-again Christians and evangelicals, with his support dropping, from 26 percent in 2008, to 20 percent in 2012.

Maybe Harkins' efforts helped prevent an even worse rout. But it probably didn't help that since at least as far back as 2009, Rev. Derrick Harkins has been listed as being on the advisory board of the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez' National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an organization spearheading a long-term voter registration push to build up the conservative evangelical Hispanic voter base for the Christian right and the GOP.

Writes Talk To Action co-founder Frederick Clarkson, for Political Research Associates,

"the Christian Right does want the Latino vote, and its targeted approach to mobilize a specific subset of religiously informed Latino voters is aimed for the long run. An expanding conservative evangelical electorate, including a growing Latino demographic, could be decisive in some parts of the country. Rodriguez and the NHCLC are at the center of that outreach through a partnership with the conservative Champion the Vote which aims to build the Christian Right's capacity to win a theocratic power bloc in the American electorate."

But as journalist Bill Berkowitz caustically put it, referring to the less than fully competent efforts of George W. Bush's FEMA director Michael D. Brown in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Rodriguez' efforts were none too successful:

"As one of the Republican Party's go-to guys in the Hispanic community, Rodriguez did a one-heck-of-a-Brownie-like job bringing home the Hispanic vote."

Indeed, when Rev. Rodriguez gave a blessing at the opening night of the 2012 Republican National Convention, it might as well have been a curse.  

In 2008, Obama pulled in 67% of the Hispanic vote. But in 2012, that percentage rose to 71%, with dramatically increased Hispanic voter turnout as well. It might not be a stretch to say that Hispanic voters put Obama back in the White House for another four years. But as Berkowitz observes, in the short run this is only likely to increase Republican reliance on Samuel Rodriguez.

Back to George Barna - in a January 2012 story, I traced Barna's rather extensive connections to C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation (in which Samuel Rodriguez himself has served as an apostle, in Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles). As I remarked in a comment attached to the story,

"the NAR is a movement not always known for its honesty, and Barna's ties to the movement raise troubling questions, given that Wagner's NAR seeks to dominate all significant sectors of society. What role does Barna's polling research play in that project, if any? I'm quite curious. "

Around the time I wrote that story, I had an email exchange with one progressive political writer who seem incensed about my pointing out Barna's NAR ties - that's irrelevant, went the claim, because Barna does great research.

He certainly does write a lot of books, that's certain, and the books have snappy, eye-catching covers. Until I buy some (and I will, though not at full retail price), I can't speak to Barna's research overall. My guess is that the Barna Group generally strives for accuracy, for the simple reason that effective movements need accurate data. For the same reason, I tend to trust the research in the epic World Christian Trends, AD 30-AD 2200.

But one thing seems clear - if Democratic strategists had banked on the Barna Group's pre-election voter preference survey, Mitt Romney might now be cashing in and on the way to the White House.




Display:
I missed that survey, don't spend as much time with Barna's trends as I used to when I was active in ministry -- if I were to guess, I would think that people in the Evangelical community are becoming more concerned about the environment - about the distribution of wealth - and our increasing tendency to become involved in wars around the world. But even though we describe ourselves as "people of faith" we live in fear. Always afraid that some enemy will destroy what we hold dear. In theory that means we answer some question - "I'm leaning toward support for Obama" but fear takes hold in the ballot box, and we give into the pressure of the voting block and vote GOP. The irony is that even if we take the "right wing propaganda" out of the church in its writings and preaching -- the "Christian/right wing alliance" is so strong that most will follow blindly along. Should anyone actually support the agendas of the progressive movement they find themselves on the outside looking in.

by chaplain on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:14:48 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Real Religious Liberty is Not Oppression
This is a reposting of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation -- FC Real Religious Liberty is not Oppression FREDERICK CLARKSON Senior......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Houston Mayor Ignites Fervor of Religious Right
The best take on Houston Mayor Annise Parker vs. the churches in her city is the story written by Marv Knox in the Baptist......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Four Stories
LGBTQ Nation   In my first bi-weekly column on religious liberty, I discuss how  "Religious liberty is a progressive and liberatory value, over which......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Christian Right Voter Mobilization -- The Season Finale
One of the secrets of the success of the Christian Right over the years has been that opponents have taken the movement with insufficient......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Sins Of Omission: When Religious Right Leaders Speak, The Whole Truth Is Often Left Behind
When an individual doesn't feel like being absolutely truthful, there are a couple of things he or she can do. One is to simply......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Bishop Finn Under Vatican Investigation
Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has long been a symbol of the ongoing institutional intransigence in addressing......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
"The $1-Billion-a-Year [Religious] Right-Wing Conspiracy You Haven't Heard Of"
In honor of the 2014 incarnation of the event known as The Gathering, I've given an interview with Jay Michaelson, writing for the Daily......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
(Un)Fantastic Five: A Remembrance Of Values Voter Summits Past
The Religious Right's annual "Values Voter Summit" (VVS) takes place this weekend. Americans United staffers Simon Brown, Sarah Jones and I will be there.......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
The Christian Right's Voter Mobilization Strategy for 2014
My latest post at Political Research Associates is about how this weekend's Values Voter Summit fits into the Christian Right's wider electoral strategy for......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
NYT's David Brooks to Speak at Antigay Luncheon of Billionaires Who Fund Racist Preacher
Recently, government-encouraged outbreaks of mob violence against LGBT persons in countries from Uganda to Russia, and draconian new anti-gay legislation in those countries too,......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
D'Souza's Downfall: Religious Right Favorite Sentenced For Campaign Donation Violations
Yesterday conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation and a term of community service for violating federal campaign laws. He......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Short Takes -- Taking Action Edition
Banned Books Week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 21-27.  Yes its time for the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read, sponsored......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Archbishop Schnurr Throws Cold Water on the Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been an outstanding success in raising both awareness and research money needed to find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Secret Antigay U.S. Money Behind The WCF and the Global Evangelical War on LGBT Rights
[note to readers: this is an excerpt from my first installment in a Twocare.org/Center Against Religious Extremism series that will examine extensive ties -......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Race as Religion
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)

Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.