Christian conservative voters turn out big on election night
November 3rd, 2010
03:56 PM ET

Christian conservative voters turn out big on election night

From CNN's Eric Marrapodi:

Ralph Reed and his Freedom and Faith Coalition did their best to sway the electorate Tuesday night. Between phone calls, mailings, and knocking on doors, Reed estimated his pro-family, pro-free market group had 58.8 million voter contacts aimed at the conservative faith community.

He described that group as "frequently mass-attending Catholics and evangelicals."

The coalition says it built a list of 7.7 million households before the midterms who fit that mold.

Reed said, "What we were trying to do was ensure those people turned out in the largest number possible and we think that effort was successful."

According to the group's polling information released Wednesday, 32 percent of voters identified themselves as members of the conservative Christian movement. That number represents an increase over their 2006 data. Of those voters in their survey who self-identified as conservative Christians, 78 percent voted Republican.

Reed echoed the common theme in this election cycle that many conservative Christians also identified themselves as Tea Party members: "These movements are inextricably intertwined and there is an enormous amount of overlap."

David Brody, a reporter and anchor at the Christian Broadcasting Network, coined a phrase on his Brody File blog Wednesday to describe the overlap: The "Teavangelical Party."

Some prominent evangelicals, including R. Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary, have warned that the overlap could cause a problem between conservative Christians and the libertarian elements of the Tea Party.

That sentiment is one Charles Dunn, professor of government at Regent University, agrees with. "It could be a danger if Christians begin to sell their souls to the Tea Party," he said, but added Tuesday night that conservative Christians voted the way the did because "They knew which side their bread was buttered on and it was the Republicans'."

Dunn said many of the gains Democrats made with Catholics and evangelicals who cast ballots for Barack Obama in 2008 may have been erased on Tuesday night.

"Rank-and-file folks, they believe that they were lead astray by President Obama. And I've talked to enough to know. They bought a bill of goods that was not a good bill of goods. Once burned, twice weary. They became really upset with the direction of the country," Dunn said.

"Either party ignores [conservative Christians] or opposes them at their peril at the ballot box," Reed warned.

Reed said it was financial reasons more than faith reasons that swayed many conservative faith voters, according to their polling data. In essence the pocketbook trumped the pocket Bible at the ballot box.

"I think that the social conservative pro-family movement is in the middle stages of a fascinating evolution," Reed said, explaining that he sees the movement embracing conservative fiscal issues. "I think what you're going to find is more and more people of faith working on a broader range of issues, staying true to their pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-religious freedom (views,) and also recognizing that a big out-of-control government that is bankrupting future generations is not just a fiscal issue, it's a moral issue."

Reed acknowledged his group's efforts to turn out those 7.7 million voters was not the only reason many of them voted: "We wouldn't say it was all thanks to our efforts. We were kind of throwing up a spinnaker in a 40 mph wind."

Reed said to consider 2010 elections a primer for 2012. "We are not going to rest until Barack Obama has been replaced by a pro-family, pro-life, conservative president."

Formerly of the Christian Collation, Reed began the Faith and Freedom Coalition in the summer of 2009 following a sojourn out of the public eye after being linked to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Culture wars • Politics • Tea Party

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Robbin Goal

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    January 31, 2013 at 5:10 am |
  2. Iqbal khan

    A very informative book "what Jesus Really say" and many other lectures and articles, download for free......


    November 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  3. Bill Colburn

    This ought to be a red flag. If conservative Christians are shifting elections, is this because conservative church pastors are preaching partisan politics? If so, what then happens to tax exempt status? If not, then has conservative Christian theology been totally and unwittingly co-opted by the American dream – such that 'believers' worship at the foot of the American flag more often than at the foot of the cross? The only other option that comes to mind is that the Republican Party is synonymous with Christian faith – thus conservative Christians naturally block vote for Republicans. Yikes, if this last point is true we can only picture Jesus with a concealed weapon, NRA sticker on his hat next to the logo for his favorite football team, while eating deep fries, and holding an anti-Muslim/anti-gay sign – shouting 'this is as good as it gets'. Yuck

    November 5, 2010 at 12:47 am |
  4. Charlotte

    Wow! When I read the red print in my Gospels and compared what Christ said to what my candidates were saying, I had no choice but to go with the Democrat, Tom Perriello, in Virginia's Fifth District. What's alarming is that there are some megachurches which, in my opinion, are more political than Christian and which spread alarmist innuendo and, in my opinion, outright lies among their members and their satellite ministries. I know that happened in the Fifth District in VA. Time for a close look at tax exemptions for churches that use their ministry for political purposes rather than Christ's purposes. Wake up, folks! Let's all read the four Gospels and follow the words of our Savior! As Tom Perriello kept saying about his promise to his father: Keep in mind that Judgement Day is more important than Election Day!

    November 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  5. CW

    To all,

    First just scimmed thru the responses....so I'll address what I saw and scimmed thru.

    @ Kathy,

    YOU ARE WRONG!!!!! GOD SPECIFICALLY FORBID MEN MARRYING OTHER MEN AND WOMEN DOING THE SAME!!!!...PERIOD. For anyone to say they are a God fearing believing person and say 'its okay to be Gay" is WRONG....READ YOUR BIBLE PEOPLE!!! Now....Any christian can't hate a Gay person...we are to love ALL PEOPLE COLORS AND RELIGIONS...BUT...HATE THE SIN!!!! BEING GAY AND LIVING THAT LIFESTYLE IS A SIN....when you are christian...you can't...LIVE YOUR WAY....you have to die to self....live GOD'S WILL...AS BEST YOU CAN. That means your morals and beliefs need to be centered around the BIBLE. None of us can call ourselfs christians and live a gay lifestyle, live in adultery, murder someone everyday, or do what we want to do...PERIOD.

    @ REALITY,


    November 4, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Zardoze

      A shouting Christian? Where's the love? I'm not feeling the love here.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Reality

      Another view on atonement theology-

      Here is what Professor JD Crossan has to say about atonement theology: (from his book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      November 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Reality

      All "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

      To wit:

      o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

      “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

      "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

      Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

      November 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • CW

      @ Reality,

      Man....I see you quoting all the MAN WRITTEN BOOKS. I'm very saddened that your going to base your life on what these people say to form your beliefs. Believe me....you and every other non believer will need much much prayer. You want to make the point that Man wrote THE BIBLE...that its just a bunch of nonsense.....well like I said....one day you'll get your chance....But...its my hope that you change your view and get a long lasting personal relationship with God. If you still decide that this is the way you want to go...then....please on JUDGEMENT DAY...please don't hold up the line....spreading your propaganda....as God won't allow or have time for it....like I said...change...and follow the only one true GOD...OR SUFFER IN HELL.

      November 5, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  6. Topkitty

    Christians? These people are no more Christian than Osama Bin Laden. They have been duped in to voting for the dark side. It proves the existence of Satan and the evil he is capable of. You Christians sleep well. Be sure they bury you with your money since that is obviously the most important thing to you now. You should replace all of your crosses with dollar signs. Either that or wear the white robes of the KKK. Praise be to Mammon!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  7. Andy

    Another thing the USA has in common with Iran, crazy people talking to pink teapots in the sky

    November 4, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  8. erasmus

    "I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians! They are so unlike your Christ" ... Mahatma Gandhi

    November 4, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  9. Seattle Sue

    I lost a lot of my faith during the eight years of Bush/Cheney terms.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  10. Eyes wide open

    Evil is at play in America and it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  11. Gary

    Not all conservative are religous nuts. I am agnostic. I voted republican straight ticket. I am a tea party activist. America needs to protect and respect our precious boarders. We need to continue to fund our strong brave military. We need to vote out large government. We need to get tough with China and all foriegn nations with tough trade tariffs. We need to reindustrialize our nation and implement apprenticeships and increase manufactering and all blue collars jobs back to usa. Religion is silly based on faith and make believe...Science and progression is based on fact and hard work.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
    • Q

      Well said. However, I'd disagree that manufacturing represents a viable long term economic solution. We simply can't compete with lower cost foreign labor. Our hope lies in your last statement in that in the information age, our best bet is to produce innovative technology via investment in our scientific pipeline, from K-12 to graduate school. This also means further investments in government-funded science (e.g. NSF, NIH, etc) and further development of commercial-academic-government partnerships.

      November 4, 2010 at 1:08 am |
  12. The Veteran

    Conservatives are NOT Christian. They are Pharisees. Soon, the devide will happen, and the sheep will be separated from the goats.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  13. Wisk

    I don't think its got much to do with Christian anything. People in general, regardless of relgous conotation, are just sick and tired of no jobs, housing market falls into a deep rut, prices going up, the whole nine yeards. Plus, they spent soooo much money, we will never be able to pay this back. Probably won't have Social Security benefits someday in the near future. China is scratching thier heads, wondering what happened to the USA!
    The socialized medicine will kill this country. No infrastructure was put in place, prior.
    How are doctors and nurses gone to cover all the basis? They won't...thats the sad part. Look at Englands social medicine program, they hate it! Waiting lists so long, that if you have a disease that needs treating fast, you better be ready to lay down and fold your hands. Look it up. All of it.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  14. tagnga

    To (some) Atheists;
    Are you that saying that religion is the culprit? That no Atheist has ever hated, judged others or committed a crime? Based on your posts, you display the same flaws you accuse Christians of (intolerant, judgmental and hateful).

    The majority has spoken and maybe you shouldn’t spend the rest of your life blaming Republicans, and/or Christians for everything that goes wrong in this world.

    November 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • Tina

      A big Amen to that! Very well stated.

      November 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.