The entire story is at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=30677 UPDATED June 12 to add clarity about "percent" and "point" in the section, "WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SHOW?" NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--In the aftermath of the 2008 elections, liberals and moderates were quick to claim a sea change among religious voters, but the facts are not as convincing as the anti-conservative crowd would have you believe. Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Magazine and namesake of Stephen Strang, founder of Charisma magazine, crowed, "Young Christians simply don't seem to feel a connection to the traditional religious right," according to beliefnet.com. "Many differ strongly on domestic policy issues, namely issues that affect the poor, and are dissatisfied with America's foreign policy and war," he said, adding, "The old religious right is dead. The new one is being formed. "If young evangelicals have anything to say about it chances are high it will not look a lot like the old one." The leader of the so-called evangelical left, Jim Wallis, was equally ebullient, declaring a "whole new faith coalition is coming together and reaching out to allies in other faith traditions, both Jewish and Muslim," the Christian Science Monitor reported. "The generational shift (among evangelicals and Catholics) is very significant," he added. "Many young Christians cast a post-religious-right ballot." But as the oft-attributed-to-Mark Twain saying goes, "Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated." WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SHOW? Comparing President Obama's 2008 performance to John Kerry's failed 2004 campaign is one way of assessing his pull among evangelicals -- and this is the comparison made in the main by the mainstream media. According to CNN.com presidential exit polling information, in 2008, Barack Obama drew 24 percent of what CNN.com described as the White Evangelical/Born Again vote compared to Kerry's 21 percent in 2004 -- and pundits touted Obama's 3 point gain over Kerry as a surge among evangelical voters. However, the question remains whether in a larger historical context the 3 point increase represented a gain. At first blush, the evangelical vote would appear to be on the swing, but how does Obama stack up against other liberal and moderate presidential candidates? A better comparison than Kerry (who for all intents and purposes is the left's equivalent of John McCain -- a second or third choice candidate who managed to grab the party's top spot) would be Bill Clinton, another Democrat with the same kind of star power attributed to Obama. CNN.com data shows Clinton drew 26 percent of what CNN.com described then as White Religious Right Voters -- and this was in a 3-way race that included Bob Dole and Ross Perot. From this perspective, Obama not only made no gains with evangelicals in 2008, but actually lost 2 points against what had been won in 1996. The "slide" is even more pronounced if data from the 1992 campaign is added: According to the National Review, Clinton attracted 29 percent of the "Evangelical/Prot." vote in that 3-way race (which included Bush senior and Perot). In 2008, Obama lost ground with Evangelicals to the tune of 5 points compared to 1992! This actually is a 17 percent decline (5 percentage points Obama lost divided by Clinton's 29 percentage point base), which by any objective basis is a political calamity. Not only that, but consider in 2008 compared to 2004, according to the online Wall Street Journal, "there were ... 4.1 million fewer voters who attend religious services more than once a week. Americans aren't suddenly going to church less; something was missing from the campaign to draw out the more religiously observant." Pause just a moment to let this bit of information sink in. Obama, while drawing record crowds among some groups, offered nothing (nor did McCain!) to attract 4.1 million religiously faithful to the polls. YOUNGER EVANGELICALS What about claims that younger evangelicals are disaffected with previous evangelical priorities?