McCain in trouble with Hispanic evangelicals

In todays Politico article
The McCain-Latino disconnect one section stood out that I'd like to explore.

McCain's problem looks to be most pronounced among Protestant Latinos, who had seemed to be the GOP's doorway into the Hispanic population. From 2000 to 2004, Protestant Latinos increased their share of the total Hispanic electorate from 25 percent to 32 percent, in large part because of Bush's evangelical outreach and strategic microtargeting of the community. Even as turnout increased, support for Bush among the group rose from 44 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2004.

The Pew poll, however, shows that only a third of Protestant or Evangelical Hispanics intend to vote for McCain, while 59 percent support Obama -- who also enjoys a 50-percentage-point lead among Catholic Latinos, long a solid bloc of the Democratic coalition.

While McCain and Bush have similar views on most social issues, including abortion, McCain's candidacy may mark a return to an era of blue-blooded Republicans less vocal about their religious beliefs. Barack Obama, by contrast, speaks comfortably and frequently about his faith.

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I'm really proud of MyDD

First, I should say that I'm pretty new to MyDD. I'm one of those recent Obama folks that a lot of the Clinton partisans decry on the board. I'm an old contributor to DKos, but I got tired of the echo chamber. It really didn't seem that there was very much to be learned there. Although things get a bit prickly over here, I do enjoy the dialogue. There seem to be many reasonable and well intentioned contributors.

The reason for this diary is a marked difference I noticed today between similar diaries on the two sites. On both sites a diary was posted about some pretty inflammatory remarks by Rev. Hagee, the prominent extremist right wing minister who has endorsed John McCain.

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DC Housing for Obama Campaign Needed

Hey friends

Some of you may have seen this diary on the kos rec list, CNN reports Evangelicals for Obama. Now I have seen everything, which is actually soon to be the focus of my job.  I'm moving down to D.C. next weekend to help the Obama campaign, and down ticket races, reach out to the under 45 evangelical vote.

It is not just CNN reporting on it, but also today's Seattle Times... Polling suggest the evangelical coalition is breaking away from being built on two issues (abortion and gay-marriage).

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Now, this is a church worth attending: Hillary joins people of faith to fight HIV and Malaria

cross-posted from Daily Kos; originally published Dec. 2 and one of my favorites that I would like to share with this community

Conventional wisdom says that most evangelical Christians would not be receptive to a Democratic candidate much less Hillary Clinton. Conventional wisdom be damned: Hillary's speech at the Global Summit on AIDS & The Church at the Saddleback megachurch in Lake Forest, CA., late Nov. left organizers and churchgoers praising the performance of our party's candidate for the Presidency.

An article in the Christian Post, noted that Hillary's "gutsy" Nov. 29 appearance at the church softened evangelical's perceptions of her. More from the article at the flip:

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The Fall Of Mike Huckabee

The conventional wisdom about McCain's narrow 3% win in South Carolina is that Fred Thompson ate into Huckabee's evangelical base, thus delivering the state to his buddy McCain.

From First Read:

Huckabee friendly counties were still out there, but Fred looks like the best thing he could have done for his friend John McCain was to keep in this race. In the past few days, we noticed the fervor of Fred heads in the Upstate and they came out for their candidate. He's pulling in 20+% of the vote there, and has clearly hurt Huckabee's margins. McCain, on the flip side, has wide margins in the Low Country. In Charleston, for example, 44-16, is McCain's lead... Huckabee isn't close to those margins

Delving into the exit polls reveals a couple flaws in this analysis. First of all, it overestimates Thompson's appeal among evangelical voters. Thompson got 16% of the total vote but only won 15% of the evangelical vote. In fact, he did slightly better (16%) among non-evangelicals. Thompson has no more appeal among conservative Christians than he does among the electorate as a whole.

It also underestimates John McCain's appeal among this key voting bloc. According to the exit polls, 60% of the GOP primary electorate identified themselves as "born again or evangelical Christian," of which Huckabee won 43%, McCain won 27%, Thompson won 15% and Romney 11%. If you take Thompson's share of the evangelical vote and distribute it among Huckabee, McCain and Romney in the same ratios in which those voters originally supported those three candidates (appx. 4:3:1), Mike Huckabee would have only gained between 1-2% over McCain, not enough for him to win outright.

Was Thompson a factor in Huckabee's loss? Sure, to the extent that he represented yet another candidate to vote for other than Huckabee, but Huck's real problem was that so many decided not to vote for him. In Iowa, which had a similar 60-40 split between evangelicals and non-evangelicals, Huckabee won 46% of that vote. If he had replicated that in SC, and taken the lion's share of those voters from McCain, that would have been enough to make up his 3% deficit to defeat McCain. So what went wrong for Huckabee in South Carolina?

Yesterday, I was watching some of CNN's Ballot Bowl and heard a telling comment from one of their correspondents covering South Carolina: that Mike Huckabee's comments about changing the constitution to conform to "God's standards" (Think Progress has the video) really made a lot of evangelicals uncomfortable.

Huckabee's statement:

"That's what we need to do, is to amend the constitution so that it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family," he told one group.

So, in other words, even evangelicals think he's batshit crazy. And so apparently do the denizens of the Free Republic, as do GOP voters all over by the look of some recent polling. Huckabee made the statements on January 15th, the same day as the Michigan primary, so it's difficult to conclude with certainty whether his loss there (and subsequent loss in SC) is responsible for his falling poll numbers or if it can be attributed to his statements about the constitution (perhaps it was a combination) but a look at his Rasmussen Reports daily tracking numbers (down 8% since the 15th, a fall from 1st to 3rd) and his falling Florida numbers (a 6% drop in the Insider Advantage Florida poll alone since his statement) it's hard not to come to the conclusion that Huckabee is done and I suspect his ill-advised comments will go down as the turning point. A key question moving forward is whether Romney, who's now remade himself into the turnaround artist, can pick up this key voting bloc as they begin to peel away from Huckabee.

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