Nine evangelical Christian leaders sent a letter last week urging pollsters to ask Democratic voters — not just Republicans — if they consider themselves to be evangelical believers.
According to Religion News Service, the signees were: Jim Wallis of Sojourners, David Neff of Christianity Today, Joel Hunter, Randy Brinson, Randall Balmer, Glen Stassen, Paul Corts, David Gushee and Brian McClaren.
Gushee, Stassen and Corts, at least, are Baptists who signed the letter asking the National Election Pool (that provides data to major news outlets) to broaden their questioning to both parties.
According to the article, these Christian leaders claimed recent polls “have pigeonholed evangelicals, reinforcing the false stereotype that we are beholden to one political party.”
Of course, the challenge beyond polling practices is the difficult task of defining an evangelical. Many within the Religious Right would discount some or all of the signees of this letter because they are not fundamentalists.
However, it would be interesting to see the bigger picture of voting patterns throughout the presidential election process, especially during this early stage with such an oddly-religious collection of candidates.
These letter-writing leaders are right to point out that not asking voters in both parties to self-identify as evangelical Christians has “prevented the public from seeing the full picture of how the bipartisan courtship of evangelical voters affected the outcome of the first contest of the 2008 campaign and perpetuated the misperception that all evangelical Christians are Republicans.”