Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

mitt-romney-wavingThree times more Protestant pastors plan to vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election. Romney's Mormon beliefs are a factor for only a small number of pastors who plan to cast their ballot for another candidate.

A survey conducted by LifeWay Research Sept. 26-Oct. 3 found that 57 percent of Protestant pastors plan to vote for Romney compared with 17 percent for Obama. Twenty-two percent are still undecided.

The breakdown is similar to what it was in 2008 when John McCain challenged Obama for the presidency. A survey conducted by LifeWay Research in October 2008 found that 55 percent of Protestant pastors planned to vote for McCain compared with 20 percent for Obama and 22 percent undecided.

The survey also found that Romney's Mormon background has had little to no influence on pastors' voting intentions. A majority of pastors (82 percent) who plan to vote for someone other than Romney say their decision was not at all related to his Mormon faith. And 60 percent of undecided pastors say their hesitation has not at all been influenced by Romney's faith.

"The historical significance of the first Mormon candidate nominated for president does not appear to alter pastors' political positions," says Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research.

A 2011 LifeWay Research survey revealed most pastors, some 75 percent, do not consider Mormons to be Christians. "If agreement on matters of faith was a necessity for pastors' voting decisions, Romney would have little support from pastors," McConnell concludes. "In fact, Romney's Mormon faith has led very few pastors to select a different candidate or remain undecided."

The strongest indicator of voting intentions among pastors is their political party preference. Fifty-two percent of Protestant pastors identify as Republican, 16 percent as Democrat and 23 percent Independent.

Eighty-two percent of Republican pastors plan to vote for Romney, while 80 percent of Democratic pastors plan to vote for Obama. Forty-seven percent of Independent pastors plan to vote for Romney.

"Another strong indicator of voting intentions is whether the pastor self-identifies as mainline or evangelical," McConnell says. "Self-identified evangelical pastors are predominantly planning to support Romney."

Sixty-six percent of self-identified evangelicals plan to vote for Romney while 9 percent are for Obama and 22 percent are undecided.

Forty-four percent of mainline pastors plan to vote for Romney. Twenty-eight percent support Obama, and 25 percent are undecided. The Republican candidate, however, has gained support from mainline pastors since the last election. In 2008, only 36 percent of mainline pastors planned to vote for McCain. Thirty-seven percent supported Obama, and 24 percent were undecided.

Voting intentions also had regional differences. Pastors in the Northeast (28 percent) are more likely to vote for Obama compared to those in the South (14 percent) and West (15 percent).

Pastors in the South (60 percent) are more likely to vote for Mitt Romney compared to those in the Northeast (50 percent).

In 2008, it was younger voters who flocked to the polls to cast their ballot for Obama. In 2012, pastors age 18-44 (14 percent) are less likely to vote for Barack Obama than those age 55-64 (21 percent) and 65+ (23 percent). Twenty-six percent of pastors age 18-44 are still undecided.

"It's clear pastors are not selecting a spiritual leader for the United States when they vote for president," McConnell says. "They are selecting the leader of the executive branch of government. The study shows a significant majority of pastors prefer the direction, policies and values of Mitt Romney."

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Order Life in the Spirit to actively grow your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your congregation will stay saturated in God's Word, learn to hear His voice, understand their purpose and calling and move into an active role in your ministry.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Jentezen Franklin encourages church leaders to encourage their flocks to vote their values.

    Why We Must Count the Cost—and Vote

    There is a propaganda war that is raging in this country, and it is full of manipulation, lies, ...

  • Why did you choose the church you attend?

    7 Key Reasons People Choose a Church

    The real issue is not the intrigue of this research; it is what you and your church will do about ...

  • Have you ever had a cringe moment during your church announcements?

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Church Announcements

    Sometimes they just miss the mark, albeit unintentionally.

  • Some of these reasons for leaving the church are simply not plausible.

    7 Reasons People Leave Their Church During Crisis Times

    Some of the excuses are pretty extreme and, quite frankly, lazy.

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Praying for leaders

    Failing to Do This Can Spell Disaster for the Church

    And it has the potential to destroy many lives.

  • Many of these issues are self-inflicted.

    10 Poisons That Will Kill Any Church

    Here is why the churches that die from them do so by their own hand.

  • Graveyard

    An Autopsy of a Deceased Pastor

    There are eight common patterns to look for.

  • Do yourself and her a favor. Take the target off your pastor's wife's back.

    Why Pastors' Wives Have a Target on Their Back

    Here are three instances of what we are doing to the wives of God's servants sent to ...

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders