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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. TWM

    And what rock did "Ralphie" slimy out from under
    What's wrong – the Casino Indians not paying enough these days?

    November 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  2. Anadna

    Instead of Christian right and left, why not try the Buddhist Middle Way?

    November 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    Ralphie and his theocratic thugs are non-Christians who will do anything for money and power. They have proven themselves to be the opposite of moral or a majority. Kind of like the morons of Oklahomains who think that Sharia law is a threat because fox tells them so. Any country run by a theocracy is the opposite of America. Especially the hypocritical vision of these jerks.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  4. Corpsman

    Vote Republican, and take the country backwards. How in sam hill did everyone forget what they were doing to the country up until two years ago? (free-falling economy; the beginning of all the foreclosures - that's why the unemployment rate is still high. The repubs had the ball and dropped it, and dropped it, and dropped it.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Corpsman, because Americans want to believe whatever they are told instead of reading for themselves. If they read up they will see that dems do for the average American's best interest then the repubs.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  5. rr

    CW

    @ Seam,

    No I don't think that Democrats are not christians but lets look at what Democrats most of them stand for:

    Pro choice
    Allowing Gay Marriage
    This socialist Healthcare bill
    Liberal views on almost everything

    Now...if you don't believe in the above....then you are definetly and exception.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm
    ----------------–

    Wow, CW, maybe you should find out what "Christian" means. It doesn't mean saying no to abortion but yes to capital punishment, passing laws to prevent people from marrying or denying healthcare to poor people. The fact that you "conservative Christians" are so selfish and mean-spirited makes Jesus weep. Since you don't seem to know much about Christ maybe you should read the Bible, especially the part that says "whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me"

    November 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • American

      Not helping those out of work for over 99 weeks (for me 6 years and counting)
      Two wars overseas
      All the war crimes being done in our name – wikileaks is just the tip of the iceberg
      Health care – should be universal that's the taking care of the sick
      The whole selfish mindset of Beck, its your own fault, we are not our neighbor's keeper anymore – to me this is the worst thing that has happened in the US.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  6. Steve the real one

    My reply to concerning the story about no blacks in the Senate. The blogger stated:
    lforlegend
    In a racist nation like the USA, there may never be an African-American in congress again. They'll do whatever they can to prevent. We've all seen how people in this country vote even when it is not in their best interest, with a racist mentality.
    ---------------
    My reply: Not sure if you know this or not but 3 Black-Americans (that I know of ) were just elected or re-elected to Congress last night: (re-elected) Clyburn from SC (a Dem), (elected) Scott from SC (GOP), and (elected) West from Fl (GOP). Not sure where you get your info but if I were you, I'd get a refund! Still hanging on to skin color? Most of us how long moved to policy! Here is some proof: Two Black or AA GOP members were elected from the South! And YES I am black and conservative!! Now THAT is change you can believe in!

    November 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  7. con_me_not

    There is nothing Christian about a conservative. conservatives are more concerned with hanging on to their wealth than the well being of fellow citizens.They worship money which is really the work of satan. The Bible states "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24) If you are not qualified to enter the kingdom of God and you worship money, how can you call yourself Christian???

    November 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
    • prplecat

      Pharisees: Definitely conservative.
      Jesus: Proudly liberal.

      Which does the tea party really represent?

      November 3, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  8. zazu

    Claudia:
    I am afraid you are largely right. But as an evangelical christian I am dying of this hypocrisy on our part. I detest the lies of conservatives, and the ugliness of Tea party racism. Believe me it has nothing to do with Biblical values and biblical Christianity. Prolifers who don't care about the hundreds of thousands Iraqi lives are just showing you that they are only that for convenience and getting the votes of the gullible. You may not know this but Reed is known for this. He was the partner of Jack Abramaoff who fincanced "chrsitian causes" with defruaded Indian casino money. These are frauds. For them christians are useful idiots to get them to power and nothing more.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • American

      I find it offensive my state thinks casino gambling is the way out of this recession. All the county governments think its a great source of revenue. I don't see any religious leaders against it. Heck, I don't see a lot against it. Newspaper articles on how to gamble, lots of ads in the papers. Pretty disgusting, but that's where I'm at. And its not Nevada.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  9. Bob

    How many groups are going to take credit for this election?
    Bottom line- democrats stayed home- had they voted, the conservatives would not have own. Had the youth vote showed up- they would changed outcomes.
    But the best line I've heard came from a friend who is a conservative- "I didn't know there was an election going on- I've been out of town for 8 days and haven't watched ESPN" – there you have it america- I'm thanful he missed the election.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  10. zazu

    CW:
    I am not sure what syncretistic "Christianity" you belong to, but my Bible teaches that Christianity is personal and respects personal choice. I am sure you are familiar with Jn 3:16 and understand what "who so ever will" mean. As to the morality of the world (ie. outside christian churches) you may refer to 1 Cor. 5: 9 and following. We are not in charge of the morality of the world. We have to respect peoples choices even the choice to not believe as my God does. As to the rest of the Story, look above. I actually believe if people vote according to Biblical values, they will vote Democratic. But that is me.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • American

      I'll stand beside you.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  11. Darth Cheney

    Where's Al-Qaida when you need them?

    November 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Never heard a "peep" from these Christians to denounce the ugliness and disgust of the Tea Party. A Christian is obedient to God and not to man and will speak out against anything that is UnGodly.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Frogist

      I find that disturbing as well that we didn't and don't hear from churches and religious organizations lambasting this new breed of theocrats for corrupting what it means to be Christian or even a person of faith. I think a lot of them secretly enjoy the fact that so many tea party are anti-gay and anti-choice. Like the article says, they know which side their bread is buttered.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Liberalchick

      Very Very True, God does not like Ugly and for those professing to be Christiians with an agenda not to help their brothers are truely not Christians at all.

      November 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  13. zazu

    I am an evangelical christian, but I don't think that biblical Christianity has anything to do with voting conservative. Actually, I would rather Identify with Jesus in the face of the Saducees and the Pharisees; with Paul as opposed to James and the Jerusalem church; the prophets who spoke on behalf of God and the poor as opposed to the corrupt leadership of Israel; Mandela as opposed to the Aparthaid governement; the civil rights mov't as opposed to Jim crow; the few courageous abolitionists as opposed to slave owners and their enablers. Would any christian care to enlighten me why they oppose me being a liberal in the best tradition of these forerunners?

    November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Hey, dont ask them to do a thing like that. You are going to hurt someone.

      November 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • American

      I had a friend tell me that he really thought hard and could not be a Republican and Christian. Made the right choice, he's Christian and not Republican.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • MARKTHISDOWN

      Not a devout Christian here but zazu, you got my attention. Keep the faith.

      November 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  14. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    As someone who grew up in the south and was the son of a Baptist preacher I though I know what being a christian meant. With all the hatred being spewed from the pulpits and out of the mouths of Christians I'm not so sure what it means now. As far as I'm concerned now, all those "Christian conservatives" can go to hell.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • Corpsman

      Don't worry Stephen, if there's a hell that's just where the right-wing radicals are going. They hate their brothers and they twist the Word of the Lord for their own greedy dogma. I can't think of a worse sin.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • American

      As a fellow Texan, Amen to that. I tired of hearing all the Bible beating that you had to be Baptist and baptized in your church or go to hell. As far as I'm concerned, they were good at memorization, bad at reading comprehension. They could not think. They didn't understand the parables. Thought render unto Casear was make a lot of money. Thought selling the Gospel was ensuring they had a big ole house and a Cadillac to drive them to preaching. Pharisees. All of them. The look good, but they're evil.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • Liberalchick

      VERY WELL SPOKEN:)

      November 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  15. patnamm

    2010 years ago a Man came with bearing the truth. He was ridiculed by Rabbis, Scribes, Saducees and Pharisees, but He never waivered. Now He is the greatest of All. Republicans may have won in the short term, but the truth will win out in the end. IT ALWAYS DOES.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Who is "He"???

      Its batman isnt it? Am i right?

      November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed Updated:

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was concieved by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary.

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many local semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension story was promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      November 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • Frogist

      LOL@MadPanda: Vote Batman in 2012!

      November 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  16. CW

    @ Seam,

    No I don't think that Democrats are not christians but lets look at what Democrats most of them stand for:

    Pro choice
    Allowing Gay Marriage
    This socialist Healthcare bill
    Liberal views on almost everything

    Now...if you don't believe in the above....then you are definetly and exception.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Kathy

      There are actually many Christians who are not against gay marriage. I believe in personal freedom. There are many other people out there with different religions, customs, etc. and in a "Free country" I believe that we should respect that and not act as if Christianity is the dominant religion. A good person or Christian shouldn't judge someone. Just respect everyone and their privacy. By the way, you don't choose to be gay or not.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Corpsman

      By your standards Jesus would have been a true-blooded Democrat!

      November 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • con_me_not

      There is nothing Christian about a conservative. conservatives are more concerned with hanging on to their wealth than the well being of fellow citizens.They worship money which is really the work of satan. The Bible states "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24) If you are not qualified to enter the kingdom of God and you worship money, how can you call yourself Christian???

      November 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      CW, I really don't understand most repud voters, most (90%) are just average Americans, I will assume that you are in with the 90% of us. If you are with the other 10% I can understand the way you feel, it makes more sense.

      Pro choice:

      What right do you or I have to tell another adult what to do, every year there are 100,000+ people shot in the US many are killed, or injured for life, not one of you mentioned gun control.

      Allowing Gay Marriage:

      Again what right does one tax paying law abiding citizen have to tell another tax paying law abiding citizen how to live. Not to long ago Black or Latinos males could even be seen in the street with a white females, discrimination was wrong then and is wrong now.

      This socialist Healthcare bill:

      Define socialist, I have been hearing you right winger through that term around for two years now , none of you have any idea what it means. Unless you are in the top 10% the new healthcare law will greatly benefit you, please don't take my word for it go and read it for yourself. If you say you have then what part of it are you having a problem with? (I have read it).

      Liberal views on almost everything:

      Liberals created Social security, Public Education, Medicare, fought and won WWII, reduced the food stamp program, and balanced the annual federal budget.

      Consider the following, when repubs had the WH, Sen, House, and Sup Court, did that do anything like, try to stop abortion, ban gay marriage, balance the budget, shrink the size of government, increase jobs (there was a net loss of millions of jobs), improve healthcare or at least lower the cost. If you answered no to any of these (all are completely true) then you are not voting in your own best interest when you vote repub. The repuds have you all snuckered.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • ScottK

      @johnquest – I believe you mean "The repuds have you all snookied"

      America will only be clean (aka not smelling like New Jersey) when they wash themselves clean of religion and apologize for the atrocities that they committed in religions name, which is all they are asking of Muslims, or do we have a double standard. Put your pride and your gods in your lockers and come out and shake hands.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ScottK: Hey! Wot you got against Joisey?! At least we're still for the most part blue...

      November 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Liberalchick

      It's called to each his own. CONSERVATIVES TAKE THE BIBLE AND CHANGE IT TO WHAT THEY THINK IT SHOULD SAY.HOW SAD

      November 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • Seam

      Somehow people think their morals are what makes them Christians. FALSE. It has nothing to do with your points. A true Christian is a person who has put faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross as payment for sins and His resurrection on the third day. John 1:12 tells us, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God’s Word (1 John 2:4, 10). A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given new life in Jesus Christ.

      November 3, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • Jeff

      @con_me_not writes, "There is nothing Christian about a conservative. conservatives are more concerned with hanging on to their wealth than the well being of fellow citizens."

      To which I say, go look up national statistics for charitable giving. Households headed by a conservative give on average 30% more than households headed by a liberal in spite of the fact that liberal households earn on average 6% more than conservative households.

      The least generous demographic is the young liberal.

      Conservatives are more likely to donate blood.

      People living in liberal states are less likely to volunteer than people living in conservative states.

      (This comes from excerpts from "Who Really Cares" by Arthur C. Brooks)

      November 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Jeff: You might also want to add that a good deal of the skewing towards conservatives in the donation department is because conservatives also define themselves as religious and a large part of that charitable giving from the right goes to churches. While the author omits giving that goes to the arts, and education because he considers it not really relevant to the needy. A similar survey done by Google states that if donations to religious organizations are excluded, liberals give slightly more than conservatives. One other reason for the disparity, put forth by the author, is that liberals push for govt involvement in creating fairer treatment for the poor while conservatives on the whole do not welcome that idea. I'm not sure if he counts hours spent working on that cause as charitable. Another interesting factor may be that he also counts donations to political campaigns as charity. As for other differences in other areas like volunteer hours and blood donations... I haven't found anything where the author has an explanation or an@lysis for this. I'd love to learn more if you have links or info.

      November 4, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  17. Seam

    They make it seem like Conservatives are the only one's that are Christian in this country. Makes no sense. I guess Christian Democrats are less important in voting.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      It's about the hate that Christians have for anything they cannot fool themselves into believing.
      Just hate. Lots and lots of hate from the "loving" Christians. Brainwashing can make you murder children, kill neighbors, burn people at the stake, torture anyone who might "deserve" torture, etc.

      Brainwashed voters turned out in a big way, not all of them were Christian conservatives. Thinking for yourself carries a real stigma attached to it....that's why so many prefer to run with the herd, bleat with the other sheep, trample rights without a single thought or bit of remorse...thanks to brainwashing, propaganda, hate-mongering, fear-mongering, demagoguery, and MONEY – lots and lots of MONEY.

      God vs Mammon....Mammon wins quite often. Altruism is often viewed as a waste of time and money...by Republicans and Christian "conservatives" who would rather keep the money flowing to themselves regardless of whether they earned it honestly or not. Bribery is not unknown in politics, I hear.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Sum Dude: Just want to say, we should be careful of painting all Christians with a broad brush here. From the blog posts on this article, it seems we're among quite a few who don't support the "conservative" mindset. Seems like these are the kinds of Christians we want on our side when we go to the voting booth in 2012.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Frogist

      You are correct again. Gol-durn-it! And thanks for reminding me to use smaller brushes. 😮
      I was venting. It felt good.

      I just want people to think clearly and rationally without being blinded by religion.
      And until bribery and other forms of corruption are eradicated from our government, voting doesn't really mean much.

      Freshman senators and representatives might have glowing ideals, but the swamp-land of Foggy-bottom DC sucks them down out of sight quicker than an alligator.
      See ya later! 😉

      November 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Sum Dude: Hey no problem. I can understand the need for venting! I too want people to think clearly and rationally. But I also want them to understand that even though we are non-believers we do share some important common ground with them. Like not wanting the t-pee'rs and the repubs to abuse the christian name just to get votes so they can implement their extremist positions on the rest of the country.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Frogist

      @Seam: So are you saying that if you do not behave in a moral, Christ-like manner, it doesn't matter because the only thing that makes you a Christian is if you say you believe Jesus existed as the son of god? Because for me it is much worse if you call yourself a Christian but act immorally, than someone who considers themself a non-believer but does the same. A Christian declares him/herself as a person of morality, while a non-believer makes no such outward declaration. No matter how much a person professes in their belief of Jesus as a semi-divine being, it will never matter as much to me as how they behave and treat others. That I think was the true meaning of the Bible. Even Jesus told about the "Christian" worth of acts of people who were not considered worthy.

      November 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  18. Eric Hanson

    I feel like I read this earlier in an article about the impact of the Tea Party. These are the same people, previously referred to as the Republican base.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • ScottK

      52.9% for Obama in 2008, now 44.7% approval rating, a swing of 8% and the right wing pundits want to portray it as 56% of America is anti-Obama!! Huge change!! Major News!! Those that lack in math skills believe them, but its still only an 8% shift, not a 56% shift, there were 47% of America who were opposed already due to either Obama's policy, skin color or empathy that they chose to see as a socialist agenda. Get ready for 2 more years of nothing getting done because 8% of American's in the middle are easily confused.

      November 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Bob

      If that's the case, it would seem that half of americans don't understand that you can't "instantly" fix an economy. They also don't seem to understand that they are getting screwed by insurance companies.

      By no means am I pro obama (I'm a right leaning atheist), but I would say that the excuses I hear for why Obama is horrible are moronic and uninformed.

      November 4, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  19. Ithink

    it still doesn't represent the majority

    November 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  20. CW

    Thank God!!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      God is not "free-market"
      "free-market" is just another term for "free criminal business practices without fear of prosecution"...surely God is not supportive of fraud, embezzlement, theft, lies, false advertising, misleading advertising, extortion, murder, etc.????

      Those of us not blinded by the rhetoric can see right through the "free-market" intentions of Republicans and anyone else who loves to spout "free-market" like a mantra. Regulations are the only thing keeping everyone from being poisoned...literally!

      November 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Bob

      People always want to know "If you don't believe in God, why do you fight so hard against faith." This is the specific reason. If we have a large segment of the population votes simply because a politician has "their faith" we're not really making intelligent decisions. We're not seeing what they're about, what they want to do or why they're qualified.

      The tea party is a perfect example of this. I mean, their spokesperson is Sarah Palin, who is award winningly stupid. And demonstratably so.

      November 4, 2010 at 8:54 am |
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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.