Evangelical Democrats Redux

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Spurred by a call from the AP’s Rachel Zoll, I’ve been thinking a little more about how to determine whether white evangelicals are showing any signs of drifting toward the Democrats this year. Unfortunately, in this regard the post-election poll of evangelicals in Missouri and Tennessee sponsored by Faith in Public Life and the Center for American Progress Action Fund was something of a missed opportunity. Yes, it showed that quite a few evangelicals vote in Democratic primaries–one in three in those states this time around. But it cast little light on the Democratic drift question. Evangelicals voting on the Democratic side could have been asked a simple yes-no question such as: “Do you normally vote Democratic in national elections?” The percentage of No’s would have given some indication of the size of the drift, if any. Of course, additional questions cost money. But the total number of Democratic-voting evangelicals queried in the survey was, by my calculation, under 250. A simple yes-no question in a telephone survey costs about $1 per respondent. That would have been a well-spent $250.