As Barack Obama gets closer and closer to being the official Democratic presidential candidate, some are wondering which groups are helping to get him there. Sure, we’ve all heard about the African American vote, and the “Starbucks voters” get mentioned quite a bit. But Beliefnet editor-in-chief Steven Waldman credits another demographic: Pagans and other religious minorities.
“It’s true Oregon has an unusually high percentage of people who say they’re unaffiliated or not religious, and Obama did very well with that group. One imagines a massive movement of tree hugging Wiccans and Taoists flooding the polls.”
According to CNN polling, Obama won a crushingly huge margin of people in Oregon who check “other” in the religion box*.
“…among those voters who listed “other” as their religion, a group that made up 10 percent of the vote, Obama won by 42 points, 70 percent to 28 percent.”
It isn’t just in Oregon either, Obama won the “other” vote in Pagan-friendly states like California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as well. Which leads to the question: is Obama the clear favorite for (Democratic-voting) Pagans? If so, it certainly wasn’t a sure thing. Back in February I blogged about a split within the feminist Goddess-spirituality community, with activist and W.I.T.C.H. co-founder Robin Morgan backing Clinton all the way, and “Why Women Need the Goddess” author Carol P. Christ backing Obama.
“Barack spoke out against the Iraq war when he was waging an uphill battle for the Senate and after he had been advised to keep his mouth shut. Apparently we knew something that Hillary Clinton didn’t. The fact that she didn’t know suggests to me that she will be quite capable of leading the nation into other ill-advised and unnecessary wars if she is elected.”
But since then it seems the tide has turned. He won praise from Starhawk, who said he evokes “powerfully appealing archetypes”, and openly Pagan Democratic party official (and one-time superdelegate) Rita Moran had nothing but good things to say about the candidate.
“I would overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. I feel his message of hope, his campaign which has been so incredibly inclusive, has inspired me.”
So, if the polling data is accurate, Pagan Democrats have made their decision. It’s Obama in 2008, and in a primary competition that has been as close as this one, that support matters.
* Speaking of the religious “other”, American Indians seem to really like Obama too.