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Christians Politically Active
Jimmy Moore
February 1, 2002

Christians in South Carolina are overwhelmingly active participants in elections, but they do not necessarily associate themselves with any conservative Christian political organization such as the Christian Coalition. This is one of many conclusions I drew from a recently completed graduate studies research poll. Details of this research poll and other conclusions are recorded in a full report written in December 2001 as the culminating paper for a Master of Arts Degree in Public Policy from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

From October to November 2001, I received responses from an eligible random sample of 70 South Carolina residents in a 10-question survey poll. The specific questions in the questionaire-styled survey poll related to the attitudes and opinions of South Carolina residents who describe themselves as "Christian" in regards to voting, politics and the Christian Coalition. Adults in 36 different cities in South Carolina participated in the poll. Fifty-nine percent of poll respondents were men and forty-one percent were women. The age range of poll takers was 23-72 with an average age of 43 years old.

Most of the poll takers had heard of the Christian Coalition (71%) and said that the organization supports many issues that interest them. However, when asked to identify what issues the Christian Coalition supports, many poll respondents either left that question blank or answered that they did not know.

Conversely, although most poll takers did not know what issues it supports, they were very candid when asked about what the Christian Coalition does. There was an even split between correct answers (such as "promotes like-minded candidates," "informs the public on family issues" and "creates voter guides to inform about candidates in election years") and incorrect, opinion-oriented answers (like "distributes biased information," "seeks to push its agenda on the American public using religion as a foundation" and "drums up support for ultra right-wing candidates by printing half truth slanting comments").

One especially irate man from Columbia went so far as to say the "Christian Coalition misuses the name 'Christian' to promote extreme right-wing political agendas similar to the way the Taliban have hijacked the Islam faith." Such strong statements were a regular part of this research process.

In fact, even though I identified myself as a graduate student working on a research project, I was accused of being a Christian Coalition operative by many skeptical poll takers. As soon as people saw the name 'Christian Coalition,' it resulted in a knee-jerk reaction! That was probably the most surprising aspect of this research.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that although most of the poll takers have heard of the Christian Coalition, less than one percent of them are active participants. Many said they did not have the time or money to be involved. Others were wary of an organization that claims to speak for them on all issues. One poll taker put it best when he said that "many South Carolina Christians do not claim membership in any named group." This seems to be true based on the results of the poll.

One interesting reason given in the poll that explains why many people have never joined the Christian Coalition is because they have never been asked or did not know they could be members. Although there is a perception that membership in the Christian Coalition is dwindling, the poll results show an enormous potential for the organization to gain many new members if they can just get their message out to the people.

Finally, when asked about their personal involvement in the upcoming 2002 elections in South Carolina, an overwhelming number (90%) said that they would be involved in one way or another. This was expected since most had indicated earlier in the survey that they are involved and vote in elections (97%).

What was curious was how some responded to the question about being willing to work with the Christian Coalition in the 2002 elections. While less than one percent of poll respondents had answered previously that they are not currently active in the Christian Coalition, 43% of poll takers said they would or might be willing to work with the Christian Coalition in the 2002 elections.

This enormous leap in the number of people currently active in the Christian Coalition and the number of people who were willing to work with the Christian Coalition this year was an anomaly in the survey poll. After further analysis, I concluded that since many poll respondents hold similar views as the Christian Coalition, they want to be educated more on the activities of the Christian Coalition. Most respondents were not fully aware of what the organization does. This gives the Christian Coalition a lot of hope for the future.

Can the Christian Coalition survive long enough to see a revival? The answer to that question remains to be seen. Effective leadership and a focused marketing campaign will be the keys to success. The complete research report details a brief history of the Christian Coalition, when and why its popularity began to decline, the entire results of the research poll, identification of the problems in the Christian Coalition and proposed solutions to those problems.

If you are interested in obtaining a professionally bound, paperback copy of the complete research report, then send your name and address with a check or money order for $8 to:

416 Ridgecrest Drive
Spartanburg, SC 29301

All orders will be shipped Priority Mail upon receipt. If you have any questions or comments about the research report, then feel free to contact me via e-mail at .

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