Roy Moore and the confused identity of today’s “evangelical” voter

Source: Vox

37 percent of evangelicals say they’re more likely to support Roy Moore after sexual assault allegations. Here’s why I’m skeptical of that.

A supporter rallies in Montgomery, Alabama for U.S. Senate Judge Roy Moore on November 17, 2017.
 Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The controversy over Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore and his alleged sexual improprieties has also produced a predictable storyline about the “evangelical” response to Moore. One widely reported polling statistic had 37 percent of Alabama “evangelicals” saying that they were “more likely” to support Moore following the allegations.

As a professor who studies the history of Christianity — and an evangelical — I find myself continually frustrated with news pieces like this. When I read such stories about “evangelicals,” I wonder who these “evangelicals” actually are, and why much of the media is so eager to peddle storylines, however implausible, related to evangelical hypocrisy.

Anyone who thought for a second about the supposed evangelical reaction to Moore should have been incredulous. To me, the charges against Moore are disturbing and disqualifying. Many of his supporters disagree. But really, would anybody tell a pollster that allegations that a candidate had sexually abused minors would make them more inclined to support that candidate?

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