The term evangelical, like the term Christian, has developed a significant overlay of meaning, especially during the current primaries in the United States. This backdrop prompted an interesting article by Russell Moore, in the Washington Post.
Moore is the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and also the author of Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel. In the article, Moore claims to have stopped using the term "Evangelical", when describing himself, rather opting for "gospel Christian". Furthermore, he believes that the current use of the term in the past year is actually subverting the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Part of the problem he claims is the use of the term by those in public life and the media. He writes, "secular people have for a long time misunderstood the meaning of 'evangelical', seeing us almost exclusively in terms of election year-voting blocs or our most buffoonish television personalities. That's especially true when the media don't distinguish in election exit polls between churchgoers and those who merely self-identify as 'born again' or 'evangelical' ".
Perhaps the problem is peculiarly an American one where religious traditions have more readily aligned themselves with political parties. On the other hand, as the term "evangelical" becomes increasingly used in the mainstream American media, it is difficult to imagine it not affecting the way Australians generally interpret the term.