(Photo: AP Images / David Goldman)
Exit polls reveal that Conservative Christian voters are a large and growing political force that “cannot be ignored," says the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
A Public Opinion Strategies survey, released Wednesday, shows that 32 percent of Americans who showed up at the polls this week identified themselves as part the Christian conservative movement. FFC says Tuesday night’s conservative turnout was the largest ever recorded in a midterm history.
“What we know from [Tuesday] is that one of the largest, if not the largest, single voting blocs in the electorate is conservative people of faith. They turned out in the largest numbers we’ve seen in a midterm election since these kinds of numbers have been kept,” said Ralph Reed, FFC founder and chairman.
Reed says the FFC worked long and hard to galvanize the Christian vote. The coalition targeted evangelicals and frequent mass-attending voters in parts of Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, California, and Ohio, among other places.
Reed counted 16 million voter guides distributed, 8 million pieces of mail sent out, a minimum of three phone calls made to each conservative household and half a million door knocks. In total, the FFC believes it made 58.8 million voter contacts.
“It was the most ambitious, the most comprehensive, the most effective voter contact, get-out-the-vote effort in the conservative faith community in modern American political history,” proclaimed Reed.
The FFC reports that 29 percent of the conservative movement are evangelical Christians. These evangelicals reside in Southern and Midwestern states, research shows. Reed also said of these evangelicals, “They are the majority of the Tea Party movement.”
Public Opinion Strategies polls found that Tea Party members made up 27 percent of the electorate. Just over half of all self-ascribed Tea Party members identified themselves as conservative evangelicals. Yet, Reed says the reverse is also true: Two-thirds of conservatives also align themselves with the Tea Party.
“These movements are inexplicably intertwined, and there is an enormous amount of overlap,” explained Reed.
Reed says, with numbers like these, “these voters cannot be ignored.”
“Either party ignores them or opposes them at their peril at the ballot box,” he reiterated.
It was Democrats who were put in danger Tuesday night. That night the majority of evangelicals, Tea Party members and mass-attending Catholics voted Republican.
“Christian conservative voters, people who were supportive of the Christian conservative movement, [voted] 78 to 20 [percent] Republican,“ said Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies.
“Tea Party movement voters [voted] 92 percent to six [percent Republican]. White evangelical Christians [voted] 78 to 21 [percent Republican],” he continued.
Their votes were part of a massive upset Tuesday night which allowed Republicans to regain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and nearly half of the U.S. Senate.
Reed believes, going forward, that Christian Conservatives will have a new platform from which to share their values.
“If you look at the Tea Party voters, when they [were] asked which was their highest priority, spending [and] taxes or moral values, they were tied. Among the social conservatives, not surprisingly, moral values were higher [priorities],” said Reed.
This is possibly exciting news for conservatives. Faith leaders such as Chuck Colson of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview has called for Christians to stand up and make politicians aware of their values.
“The system needs to be shaken up. Those who believe in fiscal responsibility, the sanctity of life, the importance of traditional marriage, we’re the ones that need to do the shaking,“ asserted Colson.
Reed believes conservative voters are not going to simply settle with this year’s election’s upset. And conservative Christian, he added, are going to keep going until they have a pro-life, pro-family candidate in the White House.