Patrick Hynes

Simply put, Democrats are out of step with their own evangelical base. The numbers are astounding — and, if you are a conservative, encouraging. To begin with, 77% of evangelical Democrats view themselves to be "moderate," "somewhat conservative," or "very conservative." But it is in their positions on issues that they really standout:

  • 53% support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage.
  • 66% support higher FCC fines for broadcast indecency.
  • 58% favor "laws designed to protect the unborn and to help foster a 'culture of life.'"
  • 66% favor making permanent the child tax credit and marriage penalty tax relief.

Interestingly, 60% of evangelical Democrats are less likely to vote for congressional candidates who refuse to vote in favor of laws such as those described above. That is to say, essentially, 60% of evangelical Democrats wouldn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi given the chance. Only 17% would.

Leave aside John C. Green’s 41%, referenced by Ms. Sullivan above — which did not seem to pan out in the 2004 election like liberals had hoped. If only 25% of America’s evangelicals are Democrats, we’re talking about roughly 7.5 million Democrat voters — certainly enough to tilt the political landscape in Washington.

In order to capture them, Democrats would have to alter fundamentally their positions on such issues as gay marriage, abortion, and the tax code. Even if such reversals were in the offing — and they are not — how many more voters would Democrats lose among their liberal, secular base if they chose this course of action?

Democrats can take heart in some of the FRC data. It seems clear that evangelical Christians are deeply frustrated with the GOP’s lack of follow-through on the issues of their greatest concern. 63% of evangelical Christians believe that "the Republican majority in Congress has not done enough to keep its promises to voters to act on these proposals."

In our base-against-base political environment, Republicans presently enjoy an advantage because: 1) The GOP base is larger than the Democratic base; 2) The GOP base is growing while the Democratic base is shrinking; and 3) The GOP base is dispersed throughout the states and congressional districts in a manner more advantageous to winning congressional majorities.

But if the GOP’s conservative Christian base is disaffected and unhappy with Republican candidates, who will stuff the envelopes come election time? Who will pound the yard signs? Man the phone banks? Hand out literature? Register new voters? Bus people to the polls?

The neo-cons? The free-market types? The "Main Street" Republicans? I don’t think so.

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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