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Vote of white evangelical Christians greater for Bush than Dole, poll says

WASHINGTON (BP)–White evangelical Christians voted in significantly higher numbers for George W. Bush in the 2000 election than they did for the Republican Party presidential candidate four years before, according to a recently released survey.

White evangelicals who attend church regularly supported Bush with 84 percent of their votes last November, while GOP candidate Bob Dole received 70 percent of their votes in 1996, according to an Associated Press article in The Washington Times.

In a news conference Jan. 25, lead pollster John Green of the University of Akron said this shift was the most dramatic one in the poll as contrasted with one conducted in 1996, according to the article.

Even more than before, the group of religious bodies voting for a Republican for president consisted of white Protestants and Roman Catholics, plus Mormons, who attend worship weekly, the article reported. The Democratic religious coalition consisted, in order of strength, of black Protestants, Jews and other non-Christians, Hispanic Catholics, Hispanic Protestants, people who describe themselves as totally secular and Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly, according to the article.

The poll said the divisions between active as opposed to inactive church members and religious versus secular Americans are more significant than the splits between denominations, the article reported. Among Catholics, 57 percent of weekly worshipers who voted supported Bush, while 59 percent of less observant Catholics backed Democratic candidate Al Gore. Regular worshipers are much more likely to vote than less religiously active citizens, Green said, according to the article.

The United States has primarily four religious traditions, the survey found, according to the article: White evangelical Protestants, 26 percent of voters in the poll; Roman Catholics, 22 percent; white mainline Protestants, 17 percent; and black Protestants, 10 percent. Secular Americans in the poll totaled 15 percent and gave Gore 20 percent of his votes, according to the article.

The telephone poll was conducted in November of 2,363 adults, with 1,147 saying they voted, the article reported. Green and a team of political scientists from Furman University, Calvin College and Wheaton College conducted the survey, as they did in 1992 and ’96, according to the article.

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