Republican Base Loses Faith

October 25, 2006

Author: Jane Lampman

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Ever since George W. Bush named Jesus as his favorite philosopher and positioned himself as a strong man of faith, Republicans have increasingly been viewed as the party sympathetic to religion - with the Democrats found seriously wanting.

That may be changing.

With the Congressional election less than two weeks away, recent surveys show signs of a shift among religious voters that could give Democrats a boost.

A Gallup poll earlier this month found white religious voters "equally as likely to say they will vote Democratic as Republican." And a Pew Research poll last week found just 57 percent of white Evangelicals planning to vote Republican, a drop from 68 percent in 2002 and 74 percent in 2004. Among white Catholics, the decline was even greater.

"The GOP's problems with white Evangelicals are important, but they have even bigger problems with white Catholics," says John Green, senior fellow at Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "The survey shows a majority of white Catholics saying they'll vote for a Democratic congressional candidate; that's a return to where white Catholics would have been a decade or two ago."