Holt and other evangelicals hope that if McCain wins office he will put people in leadership positions whose values more closely represent the church's. But he tries to remain optimistic, saying "we can make a better nation with either administration."
The Democrats also see faith voters as an opportunity. Obama's senior policy adviser, Josh DuBois, said, "Barack Obama is a committed Christian, and he shares the values of millions of Americans of faith."
Democrats even held their convention in Colorado in an effort to win the West. Each night the convention opened with a prayer. On the first night they asked evangelical leader Donald Miller to deliver the closing prayer and have since asked him to support Obama with a campus tour and speeches in all swing states.
Miller is very clear that "Obama is my candidate." Miller relates to Obama. Both men had fathers who left when they were 2 years old, and both are regulars at church.
Miller questions McCain's faith, pointing out that McCain will not talk about his faith or where he attends church. Miller believes Obama can sway some evanglicals in this election and said, "If Sen. Obama as president can rise above moral affirmation on the issue of abortion and he does what he is promising to do by reducing abortion through health care and other policies, he can win the evangelical vote in the next election."
The McCain campaign has been heavily targeting evangelical voters, especially in Colorado. They have placed volunteers at churches to hand out voting guides and have recruited evangelicals to call and talk to like-minded voters. The Sunday before the election, they plan to blanket every church in the state with volunteers to make sure the message on McCain's values reaches every evangelical.
Since clinching the Republican nomination, McCain has taken other important steps to woo back this group of voters. In August, both candidates were invited to California's Saddleback Church headed by Pastor Rick Warren and McCain hit a political home run among evangelicals when asked, "At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?" McCain gave evangelicals exactly the answer they wanted to hear: "At the moment of conception," he promptly replied.
In contrast, Obama said, "Answering that question with specificity, you know, is, uh, is, above my pay grade."
Evangelicals' faith in McCain got a boost from the Republican Party platform, released at the GOP's nominating convention. This socially conservative document helped quell the fears of many evangelicals.
But McCain really scored with evangelicals when he picked Palin as a running mate, a woman who belongs to an evangelical congregation.
There are indications that McCain is winning them over in Colorado.
James Dobson has stopped short on endorsing McCain, but has issued an e-mail announcing that he will vote for him and is encouraging his followers to vote for McCain.
"It's probably obvious which of the two major party candidates' views are most palatable to those of us who embrace a pro-life, pro-family worldview," Dobson wrote in his e-mail. "While I will not endorse either candidate this year, I can say that I am now supportive of Sen. John McCain and his bid for the presidency."