.- Exit polls from the Republican primaries in Texas and Ohio illustrate that evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Mike Huckabee, though McCain was already dubbed the “presumptive nominee”, reports Cybercast News Service. Analysts predict that McCain will have to win the support of evangelicals to win the presidency in November.
MSNBC’s exit polls showed that in Texas, 60% of those who attend church more than once a week voted for Huckabee while only 33% supported McCain. Ohio demonstrated a similar trend with 54% of church attendees choosing Huckabee and 45% backing McCain.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council told Cybercast News Service, "McCain can get that vote in November but he is going to have to work for it. It would be a mistake to assume the conservative vote is just going to gravitate to the Republican nominee."
He continued saying that McCain must be more proactive in reaching out to conservatives if he expects evangelicals to come out to vote for him in November. "He already has the voting record to back up his claim to be a conservative, but he has never led on evangelical issues. He is going to have to lead if he wants to get the socially conservative vote."
McCain must convince conservatives that their issues are important to him and that he will advance them as president, Perkins predicted. "Really, it just depends on him, whether he moves towards them and communicates to conservatives that he really cares about them," said Perkins.
Scott Skeeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, told Cybercast News Service that evangelicals will still prefer McCain to the Democratic nominee. "It does not appear that McCain is unacceptable to conservative voters. When you offer him to evangelicals against the Democrats, they don't have trouble voting for him rather than Obama. The real question is, how much enthusiasm is there for John McCain? He needs to stress the things that connect him to that constituency."