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


The President's Faith: A Matter Of Choice, Not Compulsion
Today President Barack Obama, who is the world's worst Muslim - he drinks alcohol and eats bacon - will do something many Muslims do......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Voting For Jesus?: Candidates Seek To Outdo One Another With Religiosity
The Iowa caucuses are today, and, despite what you may have heard, Jesus Christ is not appearing on the ballot.Several of his close friends......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Conventional Wisdom Watch: Getting it Wrong about the Religious Right
It is a case of the more things change the more things stay the same. I wrote a short post in 2008 about how......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Club Fight: Tenn. Residents Complain About High School's Gay-Straight Alliance
At public schools around the country, students, mostly high schoolers, are forming Gay-Straight Alliance clubs. Fundamentalist Christians often freak out over the existence of......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Zionism and Eschatology
The church I attend just had a member place a display at the back of a Sunday morning Bible class.  The display called for......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Save The Day: Celebrating Real Religious Freedom
Saturday is Religious Freedom Day. While it's not one of our most well-known or popular holidays, Religious Freedom Day shouldn't be overlooked. Our country......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Warning of Theocratic Zones of Control
This week, I published a report -- months in the making --  titled, When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Moore Grandstanding: Ala. Chief Justice Tries Again To Block Marriage Equality
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore last week tried, once again, to block marriage equality in that state.There is no case pending before......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Maureen Mullarkey Share the 2015 Coughlin Award!
Yes, folks it's that time of the year again. It's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As it is every......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
All Quiet on the War on Christmas Front
It is time for my annual response to the preposterous-but-malevolent claims broadcast on Fox News and elsewhere that there is a War on Christmas.......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Christian Right: Inviting Cruz or Trump to Tea?
With Republican candidate Ben Carson dropping like a stone in a pool of confusion, who gets invited to the tea party? Tea Party activists......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
A Plethora Of Pulpit Politicking Problems?: Far-Right Pastors Prepare For Electoral Bids
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Trump: An Apocalyptic Messenger for the Christian Right
We stand in the overflow crowd of some 300 in the small town of Tyngsborough near the New Hampshire border. Several thousand people are......
By Chip Berlet (3 comments)
Trump's Demagoguery Threatens Democracy Itself
Now is the time for blunt talk. Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue generating "scripted violence." Trumpism threatens not just the First Amendment but......
By Chip Berlet (3 comments)
Irony Implosion: Pat Robertson Opposes Politics Masquerading As Religion
TV preacher Pat Robertson and I go way back. In 1996, I wrote a book about him, and I've followed his career since.I long......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (4 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (1 comment)
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 (2 comments)
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 (3 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 (4 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 (6 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.