Evangelical voters accounted for 15 percent to 25 percent of the vote in the last presidential election, depending on whose definition of evangelical is used. They have been a solidly Republican block in recent years, but some polls such as those conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life show their concerns are expanding beyond the hot-button issues of sexuality and abortion to causes such as world poverty, AIDS and the Darfur crisis. Warren has been a leader in expanding those concerns.
Burns Strider of the Eleison Group in Washington, who was Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign liaison to religious groups, said, “My sense is there are a lot of undecided voters from the faith community right now. In past cycles, they would have been sitting solidly in the Republican fold. But right now, they haven’t been totally sold by the Democrats … but they are certainly looking at their options.”
This forum will be more meaningful than past presidential debates because of the format and length of time each candidate will have to speak, Strider said.