Christianity Today interviewed several religious political observers about the meaning of the election and what various outcomes might mean:
To both evangelicals and religion and politics scholars, Election Day is about more than just coloring in state lines. If they had their own CNN magic map, the graphics would show more than just red and blue. The focus would be on state ballot initiatives and where evangelicals land in exit-poll results. It might show whether California was rainbow colored and whether evangelicals were feeling more blue than usual. We asked several political observers what they are watching for tonight.
John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:
I’m going to look for the evangelical vote and see how strongly Republican it is versus how many votes Barack Obama gets. I’m also going to pay attention to Roman Catholics. There has been evidence that they may be tending to vote Democratic.
Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:
Of course, we’re looking at the referendums on same-sex marriage, the one in California, the one in Arizona, and the one in Florida. The one in Florida is going to be a tough one because any referendum to the constitution has to get at least 60 percent of the vote. I believe we’re going to win in California and Arizona, which require a simple majority.
Jim Wallis, leader of Sojourners/Call to Renewal movement:
Obviously, we will be looking to see if there’s a significant shift among Christian voters, in all categories: African American churches, evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants, just to see how they vote. Then [we will look at] what the polling suggests their concerns were, what their agenda was. Are there any shifts in voting patterns and agendas? I suspect there will be.
Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine:
Another unusual element that we’re watching, and I don’t know how we’re going to figure this out, is that there are a number of conservative, traditionally minded evangelicals who are very against women in leadership, such as John Piper.
We’re wondering how much that affects the election. If they’re not voting for the Republican ticket, are they staying home and not voting? We’re curious what percentage of the evangelical population will avoid the McCain-Palin ticket because of their views on women in leadership.
James Guth, political science professor at Furman University:
As I’ve looked at the polls, it looks like evangelical Protestants may move with everybody else toward the Democratic ticket. I think the real critical vote is primarily going to be among Catholics. Over the last few months, they have moved away from McCain toward Obama. That seems to be the group that has moved a lot more than others. One group that will be important are those who are religiously unaffiliated, secular voters. Historically, they haven’t voted in high numbers. Obama seems to be eliciting a lot more turnout
Read it all here.
What does your crystal ball tell you? What are you looking for?