In Arkansas, white evangelicals made up 43 percent of the population in 2007; it’s down to 36 percent in 2013. In Georgia, the white evangelical population has dropped from 30 percent to 24 percent. Louisiana’s white evangelicals made up 24 percent of the population in 2007, they only made up 19 percent in 2013. And in North Carolina, the percentage dropped from 37 percent to 30 percent. By nearly all accounts, without holding onto Kentucky and the
There’s another reason that Republican strategists should be swallowing hard at these numbers. The declines in Georgia and North Carolina can easily be explained–once dark-red areas around Atlanta, Charlotte, and the Triangle are starting to turn more purple as they get more diverse. That’s why Michelle Nunn has a very good chance of retaking the seat that her father once held, and why
PPRI also discovered another trend–not only are white evangelicals declining in population, but they’re also getting older. While they make up 29 percent of seniors, they only make up 10 percent of millennials. What it failed to mention was something the Brookings Institution found in a similar study earlier this spring–most young people who identify as evangelicals are considerably more
The messages here are obvious. The day is coming soon when the GOP won’t be able to rest its laurels on frightening Southern churchgoers with the perils of having those baby-killing, pro-gay libruls in power. And we may be seeing an end to the days of some of the poorest areas of the South giving Republicans ludicrous margins when economically they have no business voting for a Republican. But it doesn’t look like the Republicans are heeding them. After all, they just launched a dedicated effort to appeal to people of faith this spring after three decades of relying on their votes. From the looks of it, the crux of that outreach is the same that it’s been for three decades–all wedge issues, all the time. If these numbers are to be believed, that strategy is destined to blow up in the GOP’s face–sooner than later.
Darrell Lucus, also known as Christian Dem in NC on Daily Kos, is a radical-lefty Jesus-lover who has been blogging for change for a decade. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook.