Evangelicals in Missouri, Tennessee

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The news from the Zogby poll of white evangelicals, conducted for Faith in Public Life and the Center for American Progress Action Fund after the Super Tuesday primaries in Missouri and Tennessee, is not very exciting. Yes, it reveals that twice as many of these folks now consider jobs and the economy the most important issue area when it comes to determining their vote, compared to abortion and gay marriage. So much, maybe, for values voting. But in actually casting their votes, they showed up as typical white Protestants. To be precise, in Missouri they were slightly less likely to support Clinton (but also slightly less likely to support Obama–evidently more stuck with Edwards). The bottom line is that there’s no evidence that white evangelicals have a soft spot in their hearts for Barack Obama.
At a telephone press conference, it was disclosed that the numbers were not high enough for what might have been interesting cross tabulations. In Tennessee, 399 white evangelicals rounded up and and in Missouri, 293–but these included Republicans as well as Democrats. So the anecdotal evidence adduced by Jim Wallis et al. that young white evangelicals are, like young white non-evangelicals, high on Obama must remain just that–anecdotal.
The main point of the exercise seems to have been to make clear to the media that yes, Virginia, there are evangelicals who do not vote Republican. Anyone who’s being paying attention knew that already, of course, but journalistic shorthand being what it is, the fact tends to get lost in the shuffle. This is not to say that it wouldn’t be useful for the official exit pollsters to include the evangelical question on the Democratic side. In states like Tennessee and Missouri, evangelicals look a lot like Protestants on the Republican side, but they are differentiable in other places. So come on, hardheads!