Patrick Hynes

Washington Monthly reporter Amy Sullivan thinks evangelical Christians are ripe for the Democrats’ picking. Positively giddy at the prospects of "the party of Nancy Pelosi" converting just enough "moderate" born-again evangelicals to shift the entire balance of power in Washington, DC, she writes:

In the last election, evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted for Bush. That sounds like a fairly inviolate bloc. And, indeed, the conservative evangelicals for whom abortion and gay marriage are the deciding issues are unlikely to ever leave the Republican Party. But a substantial minority of evangelical voters—41 percent, according to a 2004 survey by political scientist John Green at the University of Akron—are more moderate on a host of issues ranging from the environment to public education to support for government spending on anti-poverty programs.

Indeed, as I have written before, the Democrats have undergone a radical makeover designed to convince religious Americans that the Left understands: no more Christian-bashing. But heretofore, this makeover has rendered Democrats the Joan Rivers of American politics. With such an overdone facelift, it surpasses unconvincing and looks downright uncomfortable.

There is no doubt that the Democrats are trying — at least. When Nancy Pelosi condemns the Republican budget as a "sin" and Jim McDermott quotes the Prophet Isaiah on the House floor, something most certainly is afoot. But is it working?

The Family Research Council released new survey data last week that casts serious doubt about the viability of Rev. Pelosi’s holy war. Much of the data in this survey is expected: most evangelical Christians are conservative Republicans who support a constitutional ban on gay marriage, a "culture of life," and a pro-family tax code.

But Amy Sullivan might want to put the cork back in the champagne bottle. That’s because the real data that pops on this survey is the 25 percent of born-again evangelical Christians who call themselves Democrats (which, I suspect, is an over sampling).

Patrick Hynes

Patrick Hynes is the president of New Media Strategics, a blog relations consultancy. He is the proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits and the author of In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current).

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