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A Fight for the Christian Vote in Ohio

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain will both be courting the Christian vote in Ohio this fall, according to University of Akron political scientist John Green. Green recently participated in the latest Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll.

"Overall, evangelical Protestants tend to be more Republican than Democratic, and they tend to be quite conservative on social issues. But the survey finds more diversity there than a lot of people are aware of," Green said.

In 2004, roughly 60 percent of evangelicals in Ohio identified as Republican. The recent poll shows that number dropping to around 50 percent.

Young evangelicals in particular have been moving away from the GOP and becoming independents, Green said. Important issues for this group include the environment, the economy, and foreign policy.

The shift among evangelical voters signals an opportunity for Senator Obama and other Democrats in Ohio, according to Green. He added that Obama will also seek to appeal to mainline Protestant voters, and Catholic voters.