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Paul Cooper

NewsReal Sunday: Democrats Kissed Faith Voters Goodbye this Election

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Posted on November 7 2010 4:03 pm
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.

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President Obama was able to win Christian voters to the Democratic party in historic numbers in the 2008 election.  Just two years later they disappeared in the midterm elections.  But they weren’t raptured to Heaven, they returned to the Right.  And now everyone is asking why.

Exit polls leave no doubt that there was a clear shift of Protestants back to voting Republican which coincided with an emergence of more Catholics shifting away from the Left. Almost 70% of white Protestants voted GOP, a six-percent surge from 2008, and up eight points from 2006.  Only 20% of white evangelicals punched Democrat ballots, which was even less than in 2004 when Christian conservatives flocked to support George W. Bush.

The real change came with Catholics.  54 percent voted for House Republicans, compared to 42 percent in 2008, and 44 percent in 2006. Catholics and Protestants combined to make up nearly 80 percent of the electorate on Tuesday.

Why such a change?  Obviously part of the swing to the Republicans has nothing to do with religion.  People are voting economy and their wallets no matter what day, if any, they worship.  But personal economics can’t explain the whole picture.

“The economy is at the root of the Democrats’ problem, but it doesn’t mean that religion and other demographic factors cease to matter.” –  John Green, a scholar at the University of Akron who specializes in faith and politics.

Many observers are blaming the Democrat loss of Christian voters on the failure of Democrats to continue doing outreach to people of faith this election.  There are many articles written by everyone from CNN to Christianity Today claiming Dems gave up on faith outreach in 2010.

Reaching out to people of faith was effective for Democrats in both the 2006 and 2008 election.  The Left convinced many young Christians that it was progressive policies that truly reached out to help the hurting.  President Obama received a lot of support from both young evangelicals and Catholics with promises to change Washington and America.

For some reason the Democrats political machine decided to ignore faith groups to focus this year on getting out tried and true voters along with college kids who voted for Obama.  The strategy appears to have been effective in the West and Northeast but a dramatic failure in the Midwest and the South.

“One of the ironies is that we had huge success with (faith outreach).  It’s part of why we are in power. It’s been rough to see us go back to that pre-2004 strategy that had kept us in the minority.” – Eric Sapp, a partner at Eleison Group, a consulting firm that worked on religious outreach for dozens of Democratic campaigns in 2006 and 2008 — but none this year.

While many observers agree the DNC stopped reaching out to Christians, few have asked why the Democrats gave up faith in the faithful.  I believe they realized it was a waste of money, because Dems knew Obamacare kissed a lot of faith-based voters goodbye.  Why?

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