Latest polling from the Pew Research Center shows only 1 in 3 approving of the job that President Bush is doing. The Wall Street Journal notes that its poll, showing the president's approval at 37percent, shows the "longest sustained period below 40 percent of any president since (former President Jimmy) Carter."
What particularly caught my attention is the dramatic drop in approval ratings from so-called "values voters" that have provided the president strong and loyal support. Among white Evangelical Christians, approval has dropped from 72 percent in January 2005 to 54 percent today and among those that say they attend church weekly, approval dropped from 60 percent to 42 percent over the same period.
The Family Research Council reports similar sentiments among these "value voters." A just released FRC poll shows continued strong support for issues such as a Federal Marriage Amendment banning same sex marriages (69 percent support) and laws to protect the unborn (73 percent support). However, overall, 63 percent of these voters say they feel that Congress has let them down in carrying forth a pro-family agenda.
In the same sense, many black evangelical leaders feel left in the lurch. The marriage agenda has been a focal point for mobilizing this community over recent years. It certainly influenced the black vote in the 2004 elections.
The percentage of blacks voting for George Bush almost doubled to 13 percent. In the swing state of Ohio, where a marriage initiative was on the state ballot, the black vote for Bush doubled from 8 percent to 16 percent.
Yet after the elections a kind of amnesia seemed to sweep across Washington, with our elected officials having complete memory lapses regarding what motivated many who cast votes for them.
Americans, of course, have a lot on their minds these days. There's concern about protecting ourselves from future terrorist attacks (which so far we have managed to do), about what we're doing in Iraq (which seems less clear as each day passes) and about the economy (which is doing very well).
However, I think more and more Americans feel we are fundamentally adrift and sense an absence of leadership. In the just released Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, only 26 percent say the country is headed in the right direction.
As we spread freedom around the world, I think there is concern, judging from much of what we see going on at home, that we're losing a sense of what the pillars are that hold our own free society together. If we're losing our compass at home, can we really spread the word abroad?
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