Obviously it didn’t hurt him too badly, but this Politico article confirms my suspicions that Obama didn’t do any better among white weekly churchgoers than Kerry in 2004 or Gore in 2000.
And not surprisingly, some backpedaling from an advisor:
Asked about Obama’s failure to attract larger numbers of white weekly churchgoers to the Democratic ticket, an Obama adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject, denied that the group had been a priority for the campaign.
“We were focused on moderate people of faith, moderate mainline Protestants and moderate Catholics,” he said, adding that he nonetheless thought regular churchgoers would come around. “Over time if they get to know Obama. … I think those numbers will increase.” (Side comment: Note that “not knowing” Obama is the reason they voted against him. Is it possible they knew enough to know they didn’t want to vote for him?)
This is interesting for at least 2 reasons. First, it shows that Obama’s highly-touted ability to reach out to (white) evangelicals was like the emperor’s new clothes. Second, it shows that a presidential candidate can win decisively without putting much of a dent in the evangelical community. I imagine we’ll see what that means in 2010 or 2012.