Barna Group, an evangelical Christian polling firm, released the final report in a four-part series on “Christian Women Today” on Tuesday, revealing statistics concerning the influence of Christian women voters and what issues concern them the most. According to the research, churchgoing Christian women will make up the largest category of voters for the 2012 Presidential Election. While 79% of these women said they “definitely plan to vote” this fall, only 76% of churchgoing men, 60% of non-churchgoing men and 52% of non-churchgoing women said they plan to vote as well.
As a result of these findings, Barna Group is projecting that 30% of voters in the upcoming election will be churchgoing women- making them the largest voting segment. “Representing such a high percentage of the population and with such a strong likelihood to vote, Christian women are a particularly important group for politicians and pundits to pay attention to this fall,” the study says.
Contrary to popular belief, the report shows that Christian women are less concerned about social issues (e.g. abortion, gay marriage) and more concerned with policies (e.g. healthcare, employment). The Christian women surveyed for the study were asked to identify which election issues will have “a lot” of influence on their voting decisions, and the top three issues on the list were health care (75%), taxes (62%) and employment policies (58%) above everything else. Issues like gay marriage (31%) and abortion (29%) were actually at the bottom of the list, and ranked only above environmental policy (25%).
President of Barna Group, David Kinnaman, attributes the shocking results to the economy. “During harder economic times, moral issues are less of a priority than the pressure of finances, jobs and survival,” he said in a statement in the study. “Though it has never been accurate that Christian voters only care about two issues – abortion and gay marriage – the influence of issues typically associated with the ‘Christian right’ may be more diffused than in previous contests.”