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AUSTIN – In a significant shift in party support from four years ago, monthly churchgoers are backing Democrat Barack Obama in this year’s presidential race, according to a new poll.
Mr. Obama, who has tried to tap faith-based voters, has the support 60 percent of Americans who attend religious services once or twice a month, according to the survey for the nonpartisan group Faith in Public Life.
More Americans think Mr. Obama is friendly to religion than Mr. McCain, 49 percent to 45 percent. And 71 percdent say it is important for public officials to be comfortable talking about religious values.
Young first-time voters are heavily supporting Mr. Obama. Among those voting for the first time, 71 percent favor the Illinois senator.
Younger Catholics more strongly support Mr. Obama, abortion rights and more active government than their elders. While older Catholics are split between the presidential candidates, those 18-35 favor Mr. Obama by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent).