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What Percent Of Republicans Are Religious

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Religious Trump voters are more concerned about poverty than are nonreligious Trump voters. Trump voters who attend church at least once a week are nearly twice as likely as secular Trump voters to say that poverty is a very important issue to them .

This does not mean, however, that churchgoing conservatives favor a larger welfare state more than secular conservatives. Religiously observant and nonobservant Trump voters alike want the Republican Party to prioritize reducing the size of government and agree it is not the federal governments responsibility to ensure everyone has health care coverage . In fact, Trump-voting churchgoersare more likely to favor repeal of the Affordable Care Act and to oppose government doing more to reduce incomedifferences between rich and poor than their secular counterparts. They hold these views despite both groups having fairly similar incomes .

Some might interpret these results to mean that religious conservatives only say they care about poverty because they believe it is socially desirable to do so but dont want to take action with intent to alleviate poverty. However, other data in the survey suggest that religious conservatives may turn to private remedies rather than more government action to help people in need.

Data on volunteering comes from the panel baseline survey of the 2012 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project .

Figure 16

Evangelicals Are ‘listening’ To Republicans Over Scripture Religion Scholar Says

A prominent scholar of religious studies believes that many evangelical Christians in the U.S. are currently listening to the Republican Party over the teachings of the Bible.

Dr. Anthea Butler, a professor and chair of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, made the assessment during a Wednesday interview with MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid. During the segment, the professor addressed the conspiracy theory touted by some prominent conservatives that Democrats want more immigrants to come to replace Republican and white voters.

“One of the things I think is really important about this is, you look at the statistics about white evangelicals right now, they are the least likely group to want to welcome immigrants, which flies in the face of what their Christian doctrine is supposed to be, that you welcome the stranger, right?” Butler said.

“You’re supposed to do that as a Christian. But they’re not listening to what Scripture says. What they are listening to is what the Republican Party says,” the professor asserted.

Back in April, Butler also raised her concerns about white evangelicals during a webinar entitled White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America.

“As much as I hate to say this, I’m going to put it this way, if evangelicals don’t change, they pose an existential crisis to us all,” the religious scholar said.

Regardless Of Gender Republicans More Religious


PRINCETON, NJ — Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats and independents to report that religion is very important in their lives. This basic relationship is particularly strong among whites and those who report their race or ethnicity as something other than black. Women who are Republicans are more likely to be religious than women who are independents and Democrats. The same relationship between religion and party identification holds among men. All in all, the percentage of Americans who say that religion is very important in their lives ranges from 40% among men who are independents to 76% among women who are Republicans.

These conclusions are based on a special Gallup analysis of more than 9,000 interviews conducted over the past five years.

Importance of Religion

Roughly 6 in 10 Americans report that religion is very important in their own lives. About one in four say that religion is “fairly” important, while less than one in five say that religion is not very important. There have been year to year variations in this percentage over the past decades, but the same basic pattern of this measure of religion has stayed stable.

How important would you say religion is in your own life — very important, fairly important, or not very important?

These data reveal interesting patterns.

  • Sixty-six percent of Republicans report that religion is very important, the highest of any of these three political groups


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A New Survey Suggests That The ‘god Gap’ May Actually Be Better Defined As A Spirituality Gap But There Is Plenty Of Room On Both Sides For Peace Inspiration And Love

One of the difficulties of gauging religion through opinion surveys is that for most people, matters of faith can often be amorphous concepts that are nearly impossible to boil down to specific questions.

For instance, some surveys show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who claim that they are spiritual, but not religious. Its hard to design survey questions that go beyond these categories: What does spiritual encompass, and how is it really different from religious? A survey can be a blunt instrument when it comes to refining ideas like this.

Luckily, the Fetzer Institute put a survey into the field in 2020 that approaches these questions from a slightly different angle: a focus on comparing spirituality to religion and how those vary based on political partisanship. By tying these terms to our party divisions, we might gain more knowledge about what spiritual versus religious means in real terms.

Fetzer also generously made the survey data available on the Association of Religion Data Archives website, allowing social scientists to take a peek into how partisanship shapes how individuals view matters of spiritual concern in regard to the 2020 presidential election.

What words best describe what spirituality offers for you, personally? Graphic by Ryan Burge

Graphic by Ryan Burge

There is not as much differentiation here as one might guess, given the pervasive partisanship in the American psyche at the moment.

Graphic by Ryan Burge

How Do Religious Trump Voters Compare To Clinton Voters

Religion and Race are Powerful Determinants for Democrats and ...

To be sure, conservatives who attend church regularly dont take the same positions as liberals on most of these issues. For instance, churchgoing Trump voters are less likely to have warm feelings toward Muslims compared to Hillary Clintons 2016 voters. Churchgoing Trump voters are also more likely than Clinton voters to say immigration should be harder , to oppose offering a pathway to citizenship , to say illegal immigrants are a drain on society , and to be frustrated with language barriers .

Although churchgoing Trump voters are relatively more opposed to the death penalty than their secular counterparts, still more than two-thirds support it compared to about one-third of Clinton voters. And, even though an overwhelming majority of Trump-voting churchgoers say poverty is an important issue, that figure still falls short of the 97 percent of Clinton voters who feel similarly.

There are a few exceptions, however, where churchgoing Trump voters coalesce with Clinton voters. In particular, both groups have similarly warm feelings toward racial minorities and Jews, and they have similar attitudes about trade.

Even still, Trump voters, regardless of religious participation, take more conservative positions than Clinton voters on most issues. Thus, attending church regularly does not turn conservatives into liberals. However, religious attendance may pull conservatives in a liberal direction on key cultural issues polarizing the nation.

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The Consequences Of Demographic Change And How It Influences Political Values And Priorities

The Democratic Partys racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and ideological character has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 20 years. In some instances, these changes came about in response to elite policy preferences and an evolving issue agenda. But demographic realities may also constrain Democratic policy choices and influence party priorities, often in ways that complicate its political goals.

The growing racial and ethnic diversity in the Democratic Party has likely contributed to the partys commitment to pluralism, spurring a more concerted pro-immigration platform and an emphasis on racial inequality. It may prompt the party to prioritize policy solutions that have an outsize benefit for its members.

The Democratic push on student loan forgiveness makes a lot more sense given the partys large and engaged college-educated base. The aging membership of the party also means its likely to prioritize policiessuch as Social Security and health carethat are particularly important for older Americans while investing less political capital on issues such as climate change.

The outsize number of unmarried Americans may similarly influence how the party considers policies aimed at encouraging marriage. Most Americans believe society is better off if couples who want to stay together long term decide to get married, but only 40 percent of Democrats agree.

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The Rise And Fall Of The Religious Right

The Republican Party hasnt always been the natural home for conservative Christians. In the years leading up to Roe v. Wade, some Republican governors including Ronald Reagan of California helped liberalize state abortion laws. In 1970, Nelson Rockefeller, New Yorks liberal Republican governor, signed what Planned Parenthoods president at the time, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, approvingly the most liberal abortion law in the world. Democrats, on the other hand, were hardly all social liberals. In 1976, Jimmy Carters presidential bid was backed by Pat Robertson, a leading voice on the emerging religious right and the son of a Democratic senator. Mr. Robertsons ally Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition declared that God has his hand upon Jimmy Carter to run for president.

When Mr. Reagan ran for president, he disavowed the abortion bill he signed in California as a mistake and courted the Moral Majority. In 1983 he published Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation the first book written by a sitting president. By the time George W. Bush was elected on the backs of evangelicals and born-again Christians in 2000, the culture war battle lines were clear. He went on to carry 80 percent of voters who ranked moral values as their top issue in 2004.

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Position On The Death Penalty

Most conservatives favor the death penalty however, opposition to capital punishment rises with church attendance. Very frequent churchgoing Trump voters are about two and a half times as likely as secular Trump voters to oppose the death penalty . Similarly, Trump voters who are very frequent churchgoers are about 20 percentage points less likely than nonreligious Trump voters to think the death penalty ought to be imposed more often .

Figures 13-15

Demographic Change In The Democratic Party

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The Racial Transformation of the Democratic Party

The Democratic Partys racial composition has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past couple of decades. Today, 56 percent of Democrats are white, roughly one in five are black, 18 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander. In 1998, 70 percent of Democrats identified as white and non-Hispanic, while black Americans made up 19 percent of the party. Eight percent of Democrats were Hispanic.

The Democratic Partys racial and ethnic changes have not been uniform over time, nor have they tracked the larger demographic shifts occurring among the US population. Rather, the racial and ethnic composition of the Democratic Party underwent a remarkable transformation during the eight years of the Barack Obama presidency. The proportion of Hispanics increased dramatically during the Obama years, rising from 8 percent in 2009 to 18 percent in 2016. The proportion of black Americans who belong to the Democratic Party also increased during the Obama years, although more modestly, topping out at 25 percent in 2014.

Conversely, the white population of the Democratic Party cratered during Obamas presidency. In 2009, more than two-thirds of Democrats were white. By the end of the Obama presidency, only 55 percent of Democrats were white.

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Stability Among Christians Of Color And Non

In 2020, around one in four Americans were Christians of color . This share is relatively similar compared to that in 2016 and has grown only slightly since 2006 . Individual groups of Christians of color, including Black Protestants, Hispanic Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, Black Catholics, Asian American and Pacific Islander Christians, multiracial Christians, and Native American Christians, have shifted by single percentage points between 2006 and 2020.

The share of non-Christian religious groups has also remained steady between 2020 , 2016 , and 2006 . No non-Christian religious group has grown or declined significantly in size since 2006.

Demographics and Diversity Among Religious Groups

Young Americans Are More Religiously Diverse

Americans ages 1829 are the most religiously diverse age group. Although a majority are Christian, only 28% are white Christians , while 26% are Christians of color . More than one-third of young Americans are religiously unaffiliated, and the remainder are Jewish , Muslim , Buddhist , Hindu , or another religion .

Americans ages 65 and older are the only group whose religious profile has changed significantly since 2013. Among Americans 65 and older, the proportion of white evangelical Protestants dropped from 26% in 2013 to 22% in 2020, and the proportion of white Catholics dropped from 18% in 2013 to 15% in 2020. By contrast, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated seniors increased from 11% in 2013 to 14% in 2020.

The Christian Rights Answer To Declining Religiosity Is The Suspension Of Democracy

Whatever its impact on the GOP, the implications of creeping secularism are more dire for social conservatives. The Republican Party can ultimately retain political power by bringing its policy commitments into slightly closer alignment with public opinion. That is not an option for the Christian rights true believers. As a result, the movement is becoming forthrightly anti-democratic. On the one hand, the moral minority hopes to impose its will on the nation by judicial fiat. On the other, it aims to disenfranchise the heathen majority.

Liberal analyses of the GOPs war on voting rights tend to characterize it as a reaction against the nations burgeoning racial diversity. And this is surely one driver of the phenomenon. But its worth noting that the eclipse of conservative Christian America is real, while that of majority-white America is a paranoid delusion. According to Census Bureau projections, white Americans will still comprise over 68 percent of the U.S. population in 2060, so long as one includes Hispanic Americans who identify as white in that category. The complexion of Americas white majority may shift, as it has many times before. But its not actually disappearing. White conservative Christians, by contrast, are already a minority of the U.S. electorate.

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The Rise Of The Nones Slows

Disaffiliating white Christians have fueled the growth of the religiously unaffiliated during this period. Only 16% of Americans reported being religiously unaffiliated in 2007 this proportion rose to 19% by 2012, and then gained roughly a percentage point each year from 2012 to 2017. Reflecting the patterns above, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans hit a high point of 26% in 2018 but has since slightly declined, to 23% in 2020.

The increase in proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans has occurred across all age groups but has been most pronounced among young Americans. In 1986, only 10% of those ages 1829 identified as religiously unaffiliated. In 2016, that number had increased to 38%, and declined slightly in 2020, to 36%.

Why Might Religious Participation Moderate Polarization

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What about attending weekly religious services might cause conservatives to take more moderate positions on immigration, race, trade, and other issues than less-devout conservatives?

First, many religious teachings specifically call for compassion and kindness. Given that 93 percent of religiously observant Trump voters identify as Christian, it is relevant to note Biblical teachings, such as those in John 15:12: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

For a discussion of academic studies on the role of religious devotion in tolerance see Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown, Religion and Politics in the United States, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Md., 2010, Chapter 12, pp. 345-367, Print.

Figures 22-23

Figures 24-25

Third, religious institutions provide communities that people can belong to that are not based upon their race or nationality. Thus, members do not need to rely on immutable traits such as race, ethnicity, or nation of birth to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Research shows that conservatives place greater emphasis on being loyal to a community than do liberals. And so, feeling disconnected from a meaningful community may lead some conservatives to seek belonging on the basis of their race or the nation. Doing so increases exclusivity and divisiveness, and it exacerbates racial and nativist tensions.

Figure 26

Figure 27

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American Values Atlas 2013

The 2013-2019 American Values Atlas is a project of PRRI. The complete 2013-2019 dataset contains 453,822 interviews. The survey was made possible by generous support from the Arcus Foundation, the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the Gill Foundation, and Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.

Each year, at least 1,000 interviews were completed each week, with percentages of cell phone interviews increasing over the years to 70% in 2019. Each week, interviewing occurred over a five- or six-day period, starting Tuesdays or Wednesdays and going through Sunday or Monday. The selection of respondents within households was accomplished by randomly requesting to speak with the youngest adult male or female currently living in the household.

Data collection was based on stratified, single-stage, random-digit-dialing of landline telephone households and randomly generated cell phone numbers. The sample was designed to represent the total U.S. adult population from all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, and the District of Columbia. The landline and cell phone samples were provided by Marketing Systems Group.

Weighting processes were identical to that described above for the 2020 data using the most recently available National Health Interview Survey and Current Population Survey.

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