GOP "Friend of Religion?"

The New York Times reports on a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll asking Americans about their views on religion and politics:

A new poll shows that fewer Americans view the Republican Party as "“friendly to religion" than a year ago, with the decline particularly steep among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants - constituencies at the core of the Republicans'’ conservative Christian voting bloc.

The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47 percent from 55 percent. Among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants, the decline was 14 percentage points.

The Democratic Party suffers from the perception of an even more drastic religion deficit, but that is not new. Just 26 percent of poll respondents said the Democratic Party was friendly to religion, down from 29 percent last year.
When there's a 3 point dip in perception that the Democratic Party is a 'Friend of Religion' no one notices, but when there's a 14 point collapse among Catholics and Evangelicals calling the GOP a 'Friend of Religion,' that's news.

John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life speculated that the drop among the some of the Republican's strongest traditional supporters could be due to the recent votes by some Republicans in favor of stem cell research or the inability or unwillingness of a Republican controlled to pass legislation important to them, such as a constitutional ban on gay-marriage, outlawing abortion, etc.

Other interesting results from the poll include the finding that "49 percent [of Americans] agreed that conservative Christians had "gone too far in trying to impose their religious values on the country."

44 percent of Americans view "the Christian conservative movement" favorably, 36 percent unfavorably.

42 percent of respondents see religious influence in government increasing. 45 percent see it decreasing. Most of those 45% said that was a bad thing.

51 percent said churches should engage in political matters. 46 percent said they should stay out of politics.

Most interestingly, "79 percent said there was 'solid evidence' of global warming, and 61 percent said it was a problem that required 'immediate government action.'"

There's plenty of encouraging findings in the poll, though there are some rather scary findings too. It's too bad that these results weren't broken down geographically. I would love to see this same poll conducted in every state and the results mapped. Even better, if it could be done by county... But that won't happen so there's no use wishing. In the end, if Religious Conservatives are less enthusiastic about voting Republican in this midterm election, that would be a good thing.

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