Evangelical Vote Up for Grabs

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CWN.com - A new poll by the Barna Group shows that, with nine months left before the general election, a significant portion of evangelicals are not committed to either party.

The survey shows that if the election were held today, 45 percent of evangelicals would vote for the Republican nominee and 11 percent the Democratic nominee, with 40 percent undecided.

That's significant because in 2004, President Bush carried 78 percent of whites who considered themselves evangelical, according to exit polls. -The exit polls did not provide information on evangelicals of all races.-

"Evangelicals are clearly sending a message to Republican leaders this time around," pollster George Barna said in a statement. "There is tremendous frustration among evangelical voters, in particular."

"Given the stands of some of the leading Republican contenders, evangelicals are registering their discomfort with the choices they have at hand," he said.

The telephone poll of 1,006 adults -from which there were 649 registered voters- was conducted in January. Republican Rudy Giuliani, vocally opposed by several conservative leaders because of his pro-choice views, dropped out of the race Jan. 30.

For a person to be considered an evangelical by Barna researchers, a respondent must say:

- that he has made a personal commitment to Jesus that is still important in his life today;

- that when he dies he will go to heaven because he has accepted Christ and confessed his sins;

- that he has a personal responsibility to share his beliefs about Christ with non-Christians;

- that Satan exists; that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, and not works; that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth;

- that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches;

- and that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.

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