Exit polls released shortly after election day that showed that conservative Christians voted en masse last week. White evangelicals made up 26% of the voting electorate last Tuesday. This is up from 25% in 2010 and 24% in 2006 that were also good mid-term elections for Republicans. 78% of white evangelicals voted Republican a slight increase from 2010 – 77% and 2006 – 70%. Republicans saw an increase of support among all Protestants with 61% voting Republican and 37% voting Democrat. Protestants made up 53% of the voting electorate.
Catholics also made up 24% of the electorate up 1% from 2010, but down 2% from 2006. A majority of Catholics voted Republican 54% to 45%. The margin among white Catholics was higher with 60% voting Republican and 38% voting Democrat.
“Others” (Muslims, Hindus, etc.) made up 8% of the electorate and Republicans made inroads with that voting group. In 2006 74% of this group voted Democrat with 22% voting Republican. In 2014 Republicans saw a seven point bump with Democrats seeing a five point decrease. There was a definite shift among the Jewish vote as well. In 2006 Jewish voters overwhelmingly voted for Democrat candidates over Republican candidates 87% to 12%. In 2014 Democrats only held a 2 to 1 advantage.
58% of those who attended worship services weekly voted Republican compared to 40% who voted Democrat. A majority of voters who attended worship services at any frequency voted Republican. Democrats only led among voters who never attend worship services – 62% to 36%.
“It is often claimed that conservative religious voters, especially white evangelicals, are going the way of the dinosaur, consigned to demographic irrelevance. But they were a key component of the Republicans’ 2014 midterm victories,” said Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion & Democracy.
“The 26 percent of the 2014 electorate who were white evangelicals, according to exit polls, is higher than the 23 percent of 2004, when evangelicals were lionized as an imposing electoral force. Wherever demographic trends lead in the future, conservative Christians were decisive in the 2014 election, and their percentage of the electorate has not declined,” Tooley added.