In a 2007 poll, the Barna researchers found that nine out of 10 evangelicals said abortion is a major problem, which meant that this issue was "still far and away" their most pressing concern, said Kinnaman. Meanwhile, nearly eight in 10 evangelicals said they were very concerned about issues linked to gay rights.
However, evangelicals who participated a new Barna survey split down the middle when asked if they thought their peers would focus primarily on the big two social issues when voting. On one side, 48 percent said it was true that evangelical votes would be driven by abortion and sexuality, while 45 percent disagreed. Meanwhile, 55 percent of non-evangelical Christians and 58 percent of non-Christians were convinced that these hot social issues would drive the votes of evangelical voters.
What about all of those news reports that some evangelicals -- symbolized by the Rev. Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church and a host of other label-shunning younger leaders -- are trying to pursue a broader social agenda?
Kinnaman noted that only 28 percent of evangelical participants in the new survey thought that members of their tribe would give other social issues, like poverty and the environment, short shrift. In a sign that this wider-agenda debate has legs, 69 percent of evangelicals polled disagreed with that statement.
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