Economy, govt. cleanup, poverty top issues among Evangelicals

Last week, Beliefnet conducted an online poll of 980 self-identified “evangelical/born again” respondents, and it showed that 85 percent of respondents marked the economy and “cleaning up government” as top issues. While most still identify as conservative and express their views of the Bible as being “the inerrant word of God,” many would be surprised by what comes next:

Generally speaking, however, evangelicals ranked traditionally progressive or Democratic causes as more important than traditionally conservative or Republican ones. Twenty three percent said their views had become less positive about Republicans, twice the number who said they’d soured on Democrats, though half of respondents said they had become less positive about both parties. Almost 60-percent said they favored a more progressive evangelical agenda focused more on protecting the environment, tackling HIV/AIDs, and alleviating poverty and less on abortion and homosexuality.

Combining those who labeled an issue “most important” or “very important,” the results were:

The economy (85%)

Cleaning up government (85%)

Reducing poverty (80%)

Improving public education/access to health care (78%)

Protecting the environment (70%)

Ending torture (68%)

Ending Iraq war (67%)

Ending abortion (61%)

Combating sex and violence in the media and entertainment (59%)

Illegal immigration (59%)

Stopping gay marriage (49%)

Helping Africa (48%)

Winning Iraq war (46%)

Fighting Islamic radicalism (58%)

Additionally, more than half of the respondents answered yes to this question:

“Lots of media attention has been paid to a progressive evangelical agenda focused more on protecting the environment, tackling HIV/AIDS, alleviating poverty, and promoting human rights and less on abortion and homosexuality. Does this more progressive agenda reflect your political priorities?”

68 percent of evangelicals polled felt that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is by changing the culture through education and other means, as opposed to the 26 percent that think the best way is by limiting abortion rights, such as by overturning Roe v. Wade.

The story is here, and the complete poll results are here.

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