Surprising Results in Evangelical Poll

The Barna Group is perhaps the most respected Christian Evangelical research group. That makes their recent poll findings particularly startling when it comes to who Christians might support in 2012.

Perhaps not the results you expected

In a poll of Catholic and Protestant Christians, the candidates with the highest negatives were Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. This is especially surprising considering the incredible support these two have put behind traditional family values.

Newt’s unfavorable ratings in the mid 40’s very likely relate to his nagging marital infidelity issues from 16 years ago. While most political bases find such things to be easily forgivable, the Christian base is not so forgiving nor will they defend Newt’s actions. This could make a Christian grass roots support base difficult to build.

Palin’s highest negatives are even more surprising. When it comes to Evangelical Christians, most pundits would consider Palin to have that category wrapped up going into this race. However, this poll is reminiscient of the Family Research Counsel’s straw poll that put Palin behind Romney, Huckabee and Newt Gingrich in a straw poll won by non-contender Mike Pence.

This is not a mainstream media poll and it was not reported by mainstream media. Perhaps the message to Sarah Palin coming from Christians is that whether they agree with her or not, they don’t want her to run. At any rate, without the Christian vote, she does not have a prayer.

Perhaps what I found most surprising was the favorable rating for Mitt Romney. I don’t think anyone was shocked to see Huckabee do well in a poll of Christians. Romney on the other hand struggled to get Evangelicals to vote for him in 2008 due to his liberal history and Mormonism.

My suspicion is that many Christians have resigned themselves to the possibility that they will not be voting for their favorite candidate in 2012, but instead will be voting for the best candidate who can defeat Barack Obama. When this poll is viewed in that light, it makes sense that front runner Mitt Romney would get high ratings; as would Huckabee who Christians love but acknowledge will likely not even run.

George Barna suggests that no matter who the Republican candidate in 2012 might be, they will be “bloody and half-poor” coming out of the primary.

 

 

What do you think? Are you a Christian or values voter? Leave a comment and tell us if you are planning on voting for the candidate who most represents your values, or a candidate who is not Barack Obama but can beat him.

The Neapolitan Party

Early on in this race, we are starting to see a clear breakdown in the Republican party into three distinct flavors. The question will be whether one candidate can unite the party once the others have melted away.

Can Republicans compromise on one flavor?

The social conservatives are known for their stances on family values, morality, and for some, Christianity. They are the candidates that the Family Research Counsel and American Family Association would love to see win. They are openly supportive of the TEA Party movement and are popular among talk radio listeners and Glenn Beck fans. They are big on national security, small government, and spending cuts, but these stances are drowned out by their social values. They are often controversial and pull no punches in attacking the Left. This flavor includes Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

Then you have the fiscal conservatives. They are proven businessmen. They have cut costs in government, they have balanced budgets, they have produced growth, and many of them have large personal fortunes. They have made the tough, controversial decisions having to do with the size of government, and they have produced incredible results. However, even though many of them are pro-life, pro-family, and generally socially conservative, this does not come out strongly in their campaigns. They are willing to work across the aisle, and sometimes alienate their own party by doing it. Social conservatives don’t trust them, but they enjoy a closet relationship with the TEA Party movement. They are strong on national security and foreign policy. These candidates include Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump.

Finally, there are the libertarians. Although they may live socially conservative lives and oppose things like abortion on a personal and state level, they will die by the principle that such things are beyond the scope of the Federal Government’s regulations. They oppose foreign wars and take a very cynical approach to free trade, the UN, and other foreign entanglements. They oppose the war on drugs and would take a chainsaw to the Federal Government’s authority without hesitation. Secretly, many conservatives love them, but most would not actually vote for them. These include Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

And then there is Newt Gingrich. Newt can be credited with helping bring about one of our nation’s most prosperous times as he worked both across the aisle and strongly against a Clinton administration to balance the budget.

Newt can win the general. Can he win the primary?

Newt also is a dedicated social conservative, who despite his own personal family issues from a decade ago is a strong advocate for socially conservative issues. Newt also advocates for limited government, but certainly not anywhere to the extent that Ron Paul does. Gingrich is smart on foreign policy and thinks outside of the box.

His American Solutions website and conservative crusade starting from when he was considering a presidential run in 2007 have helped to codify and establish the conservative brand going into 2012. He has been a strong TEA Party ally without appearing to be a one dimensional TEA Party candidate.

Could Newt be the candidate who can unite enough of the Republican Neapolitan breakdown to win in 2012? He could certainly defeat Obama in a debate and would have a strong showing in a general election. The question is if he can get enough of the social conservative, fiscal conservative and libertarian Republicans to abandon their favorite in order to unite behind him in the primary.

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