A national poll has finally confirmed all the anecdotal evidence breathlessly reported all year: young evangelicals are all flaming liberals who worship Barack Obama and the polar icecaps.

Well, sort of confirmed it. Young white evangelicals still support McCain over Obama by a wide margin (62-30%) and are still solidly pro-life. But compared to older white evangelicals, they’re less gung-ho for the GOP. Young evangelicals are less likely to support McCain and view him favorably, and more likely to feel coldly towards George Bush. A majority support civil unions for same-sex marriages and a majority (55%) identify themselves as either moderate or liberal. 

Two particularly intriguing bits:

Maybe Bush's presidency impacted young evangelicals’ politics. These 18-29 year olds first voted for president in 2000 or 2004. Bush was the first national leader they believed in, and his presidency would shape their view of Bush's party and his politics. Bush has a pathetic 39% favorability rating among young white evangelicals. Why? Young evangelicals’ pro-life convictions are the one belief that seems to hold steady. Maybe they view some of his decisions – mainly about torture and war – as anti-life.

Young white evangelical women also look askance at Sarah Palin. While 65% of older white evangelical women view Palin favorably, only 46% of young white evangelical women do. As the list of excruciating Palin interviews gets longer and the people asking "What was he thinking?" get louder, perhaps young evangelical women see the Palin pick as nothing but a disastrously-conceived attempt to pander for their vote. They obviously didn't buy it when Obama pandered, since most of them are still voting McCain. Maybe they don't buy it when McCain panders, either.


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Alisa Harris

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