By Don Teague Correspondent
NBC News
updated 5/1/2007 5:57:36 PM ET 2007-05-01T21:57:36

In the last two presidential elections, conservative Christian voters really flexed their political muscle. In 2004, nearly 27 million evangelicals went to the polls, and a solid majority of them voted for President Bush.

Without those votes, Republican candidates say it will be nearly impossible to reach the White House next year, but so far, evangelicals seem to be sitting on the sidelines.

In Cedar Falls recently, there was a gathering of evangelical Christians, praying for political guidance. The guest of honor at this house party was Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

"I don't think a Republican wins without strong support from the evangelical community," Huckabee says.

It was voters like these who helped elect George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 — his open faith a natural draw for evangelicals.

"I'm still strongly in support of George Bush," Kris Boettger, an Iowa voter, says. "But as you know, the war hasn't gone that well — and a lot of the lines have been fuzzied."

And in this election, things are even less clear because none of the Republican front-runners has caught fire with the Christian right.

All of the front-runners are trying to make sure they're not vetoed by the Christian conservatives. They know they're not going to be the favorite, they just don't want to be the most hated. In Missouri, Joy and Brian Roggow, Bush voters we profiled in 2004, say they've been let down by politics — disappointed that Bush and others they've supported haven't pushed conservative issues hard enough.

"I'm looking for someone who calls it as he sees it and walks the line and lives the way that he says he is going to live," Brian Roggow says.

Here in Iowa, evangelicals say they're paying close attention to all of the presidential candidates. The problem, they say, is that so far there's no obvious choice. Which is why candidates like Huckabee, are touting their Christian credentials. And why evangelicals are praying they can be the difference again next year.

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