Florida’s Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Chris King, is a self-described progressive evangelical. This got me thinking about the voter dynamics of this group. And as the linked article points out, Democrats are hoping to improve their vote share, given that white evangelicals make up about a quarter of the electorate. However, this is a difficult demographic for Democrats. In thefour elections since 2004, Democrats have won 21%, 24%, 21% & 16%.
Although it’s difficult to imagine the Democrats winning a majority of this demographic in the foreseeable future, as recently as 2008 they did 8% better than in 2016- enough difference that if Hillary Clinton had 2008 Obama numbers that she would be President. And don’t forget that Jimmy Carter was the original political evangelical. How can the Democrats pull that off again? Hillary’s faith adviser Matthew Bennett criticized her for not doing a good outreach job. Should Hillary have talked more about her Methodist faith?
Lastly, how might the white evangelical Democrat voters differ from Republican voters? The obvious example would be gender- I couldn’t find any hard stats on this, but it seems clear that women would be less likely to vote for the Republicans, especially in the era of Trump and #MeToo. This recent New York Times article describes Beto O’Rourke’s outreach to evangelical women.