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US poll shows Obama lead does not hinge on white churchgoers


On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, Democrat Party candidate Barack Obama appears to have made little inroads with white voters who regularly attend church, according to one survey.

A Gallup Poll showed that Obama – a member of the United Church of Christ who has actively courted white evangelical voters – is backed by just under a third of such voters: 28 percent, which is 1 point less than what Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry garnered in 2004.

"There has been remarkably little change among whites in the religion gap," John Green, a fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, was quoted as saying by the Web site Politico.com.

Polls give Obama a solid lead over the Republican party’s John McCain.

Richard Land, a prominent Southern Baptist leader, told Politico he thought Obama, who is of white American and black African descent, was not pulling in white Christian evangelicals – a huge segment of those who attend church regularly – due to his stance in favouring abortion.

"I think pro-choice people in this culture have absolutely no idea of the depth and intensity of the moral outrage of the people who are pro-life," Land said. "They think that conservatives use it only as a wedge issue."

A poll by the Pew Forum, however, reports that non-Hispanic Roman Catholic support for Obama has grown during the latter part of the presidential race, with Obama now running ahead of McCain among non-Hispanic Catholic voters by 8 points, 49 to 41 percent.

In a pre-election interview on the Pew Web site (www.pewforum.org), Green said white Catholics had said economic issues were key in 2008.

"These recent economic calamities may have led many white Catholics, particularly independents, to connect their economic priorities to their choice for president in a way that favours Obama over McCain," he said. "Obama talks much more comfortably about his faith than Kerry did during the 2004 campaign. And Obama talks about it in a way that connects in a fairly straightforward fashion to Catholic social teachings on economic issues."

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