Self-identified white evangelical Christians were the largest bloc of voters in the midterm elections, totaling nearly 30 percent of those who went to the polls Tuesday. Once there, they voted almost as a bloc, casting 78 percent of their ballots for Republicans, according to a post-election survey that Public Opinion Strategies conducted for Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.
That turnout among conservative people of faith was a 5 percent increase in evangelical turnout over 2006 and was the largest ever recorded in a midterm election, the coalition said.
Because the evangelical vote is concentrated in the South and the Midwest, these voters had an exaggerated impact on Republican gains in the election, contributing to the vast majority of U.S. Senate and House victories for the GOP, the coalition said.
The survey also found that 52 percent of all self-identified members of the tea party movement are conservative evangelicals. This is consistent with polling data from other organizations before Election Day.
Another religious segment tallied, Roman Catholics who attend frequently, constituted 12 percent of the vote and cast 58 percent of their ballots for Republican candidates, compared with 40 percent of their ballots for Democrats, according to CNN exit polling.
"People of faith turned out in the highest numbers in a midterm election we have ever seen,” said Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “And they made an invaluable contribution to the historic results, including the election of a Republican majority in the House and significant gains in U.S. Senate seats, governorships, and hundreds of state legislative seats and local offices. This survey, along with numerous exit polls, makes clear that those who ignore or disregard social conservative voters and their issues do so at their own peril."
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