Evangelical Christian voter erosion away from the Republicans and toward the Democrats in 2008 was undoubtedly a significant factor in the election of Barack Obama. It didn’t work out too badly for those clinging to his coattails, either.
But will the trend continue?
This question will be at least partially answered soon in New Jersey and Virginia where hotly contested races for statewide office have entered the final stretch. Many signs point toward Republican victories – possibly portending a GOP resurgence of sorts. At this point, Chris Christi (R) leads incumbent Jon Corzine (D) in the Garden State, while in the Old Dominion, Bob McDonnell (R) leads Creigh Deeds (D). But both races are tightening.
In Virginia, there is a sharp contrast between McDonnell and Deeds on issues that resonate with social conservatives – a contrast seen as well in the contests for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. In the AG race, Republican State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, a staunch and stalwart cultural and economic conservative who has represented the 37th district in Fairfax County since 2002, is ahead in all polls. Both McDonnell and Cuccinelli hail from Northern Virginia, a section of the Commonwealth that went overwhelmingly for Obama, as well as Mark Warner (D) for U.S. Senate and Gerry Connolly (D) for the House of Representatives, last year.
Of course, some of this can be chalked up to the politics-as-usual way one party has of living to fight another day after being trounced a year or two before. But there is also something else happening – something that is not being widely reported. The Democrats appear to be ignoring something they did with a great measure of effectiveness last year.