Video: How will evangelicals vote?

By Martin Savidge Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/9/2006 7:42:07 PM ET 2006-10-09T23:42:07

They are the backbone of the Republican Party, once as predictable as a sermon on Sunday. They are Christian conservatives. But some Republican strategists fear the Foley scandal strikes at the very heart of their core moral beliefs.

"I kinda get the feeling that it's just out of control up there, you know, because of what we're hearing on the media," says Sheila Harper of Hendersonville, Tenn. "You think, what are they doing?"

There's worry Christian conservatives might stay away from the polls come November.

Even just a small change in the voting habits of conservative Christians could have a huge impact on who wins and loses in close Congressional races.

One place where that's true is Tennessee. Democratic representative Harold Ford Jr. and Republican Bob Corker — according to several polls — are neck and neck, battling to replace retiring Majority Leader Bill Frist.

It's a race Democrats believe could help put control of the Senate back in their hands. But here in Tennessee at least, Christian conservatives blame former congressman Foley, not the party. Everyone we talked to said they'll be voting come election day.

"I think those actions are horrendous," says Julia Lawson of Madison, Tenn. "But I don't see it's involvement in the political process. That was an individual, not the political party itself."

"I may have to hold my nose when I vote but I'll vote the Republican line, it's the only way to go," says Dave Macy of Gallatin, Tenn.

Influential pastor Maury Davis summed it up best.

"I think the disappointments that individuals may have with the Republican Party are probably outweighed by the disillusionment with the platform of the Democratic party," Davis said.

If those sentiments are reflected nationwide this fall, they may just be the answer to a Republican prayer.

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