Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Conservative religious voters made up as big a percentage of the electorate as ever, backing Republicans at least as strongly as ever in the midterm election according to exit polls released following Tuesday's voting.
White evangelicals were 26 percent of the electorate this year, 78 percent voting Republican, up from 2010, when they were 25 percent of the electorate and 77 percent voted Republican, and 2006, when they were 24 percent of the electorate and 70 percent voted Republican.
White Catholics were similarly unchanged: they made up 19 percent of the electorate this year, 60 percent of whom voted Republican, whereas in 2010 they were 17 percent of the electorate, 59 percent of whom voted Republican, and in 2006 they were 20 percent of the electorate, 49 percent of whom supported Republicans.
People who attend religious services weekly made up 40 percent of 2014 voters and 58 percent of them supported Republicans. In 2006, they made up 45 percent of the voters, and 55 percent backed Republicans. People who never attend church made up 18 percent of this year's electorate, and only 36 percent of them favored Republicans, up from 30 percent in 2006, when they were 15 percent of voters.
Republican support among all Protestants was 61 percent this year, when they were 53 percent of the electorate; 59 percent in 2010, when they were 55 percent of voters; and 54 percent in 2006, when they were again 55 percent of voters.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
"It is often claimed that conservative religious voters, especially white evangelicals, are going the way of the dinosaur, consigned to demographic irrelevance. But they were a key component of the Republicans' 2014 midterm victories.
"White evangelicals have remained a steady percentage of the electorate for a decade or more, even as whites overall have been a shrinking share of the population. As white Mainline Protestants continue to decline, it appears Republicans are making some gains among ethnic Protestants, whose numbers are growing.
"The 26 percent of the 2014 electorate who were white evangelicals, according to exit polls, is higher than the 23 percent of 2004, when evangelicals were lionized as an imposing electoral force.
"Wherever demographic trends lead in the future, conservative Christians were decisive in the 2014 election, and their percentage of the electorate has not declined."