(Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
Evangelical Christian voters turned out in record numbers according to a national post-election survey done by the Faith and Freedom Coalition. However, despite a 78 to 21 percent split in favor of Mitt Romney among white evangelicals, the coalition's leader implied that Barack Obama's win was catapulted by votes from youths and minorities.
"Evangelicals turned out in record numbers and voted as heavily for Mitt Romney yesterday as they did for George W. Bush in 2004," said Ralph Reed, chairman of Faith and Freedom Coalition. "That is an astonishing outcome that few would have predicted even a few months ago. But Romney underperformed with younger voters and minorities and that in the end made the difference for Obama."
Reed added that the election was a "tale of two cities" and said, "Evangelicals and faithful Catholics turned out in large numbers and voted overwhelmingly for religious liberty, the sanctity of life and marriage, and limited government. But younger voters and minorities turned out in even larger numbers [than] in 2008 and delivered Obama to victory."
Overall, not factoring religion or faith, Obama easily won the youth vote nationally, 67 percent to 30 percent.
The evangelical vote increased in 2012 to a record 27 percent of the electorate. This was the highest share of the vote in modern political history for evangelicals, according to the FFC.
Romney's performance among evangelicals represented a net swing of 10 percent over John McCain's performance in 2008.
Prior to the election, Reed had promised to use his coalition to mobilize an army of grassroots activists nationwide in order to get Christian voters to the polls in numbers never seen before.
The coalition said that it has distributed 30 million voter guides passed out in 117,000 churches, 24 million pieces of mail, and has made 23 million get-out-the-vote calls.
"Virtually the entire increase in Mitt Romney's vote compared to John McCain's in 2008 came because of higher turnout and higher support from evangelical voters," said Glen Bolger, the pollster who conducted the survey.
Catholic voters who regularly attend Mass broke 67 percent for Romney to 32 percent for Obama. This represented a swing of 35 percent in the direction of the GOP since 2008. Romney also won white Catholics by a margin of 59 percent to 40 percent, a margin of 19 points among a group that historically has voted for the winner. Nevertheless, Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote driven largely by over performing among Hispanic Catholics.
"If the Republican Party wants to be competitive in national elections, it will have to nominate candidates who can appeal to young voters, women, Hispanics and other minorities. Otherwise, they will likely see more elections similar to the 2012 outcome," Reed said. "The good news for the GOP is many of those voters are conservative and are people of faith."
Putting the issue of voters' faith aside, Romney was better than McCain's 2008 showing in almost every demographic category, The Christian Post reported Wednesday. Obama was helped by a strong turnout from his own party and Latinos.
The post-election survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and included interviewing 1,600 actual 2012 voters. The margin of error is +/- 2.45 percent.