The Common Good

New Poll: Majority of White Evangelicals Oppose Cutting Federal Programs That Help the Poor

Source: Sojourners
Date: November 17, 2011



November 17, 2011


Carrie Adams, Sojourners: (202)745-4654;

 Sarah Kropp, National Association of Evangelicals: (202)789-1011;

New Poll: Majority of White Evangelicals Oppose Cutting Federal Programs That Help the Poor 

Public Religion Research Released New Poll Numbers Today Indicating Dramatic Differences Between National Narrative and Evangelical Principle


Washington, DC November 17, 2011 – According to a new poll released today by Public Religion Research and Religion News Service, nearly 7 in 10 Americans oppose cutting funding for social programs that help the poor, as well as oppose cuts in funding for religious organizations which expressly help the poor. The poll specifically asked what respondents would favor or oppose when finding ways to reduce the federal deficit.

The most significant responses about deficit reduction and budget balancing come from white evangelicals. When asking about ways to reduce the deficit, 58% of white evangelicals oppose cutting federal programs that help the poor, 72% oppose cutting federal funding to religious organizations that help the poor and 60% favor raising taxes on those that make more than 1 million dollars a year.

In response to the poll, Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners released the following statement: “White evangelicals as a whole remained solidly in the Republican camp in previous elections. However, this kind of opposition to the Republican budget cutting strategy is significant. But, to careful observers, it shouldn’t be shocking. Many evangelicals, and especially their younger generation, now see poverty as fundamental biblical issue and believe budgets are moral documents.”

As well as illuminating responses from Republicans who are evenly split on their support of cutting government aid but opposing cutting funding for Christian organizations which help to the poor, the poll finds that approximately 8-in-10 Americans believe the gap between the rich and poor has gotten larger.

The poll also indicates that Americans are equally as likely to believe that Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party shares their values, at 29% agreement for each movement. Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants are the most likely category to respond that the Tea Party movement shares their values (49%), but almost 4-in-10 (39%) say it does not. 

Jim Wallis, President and CEO of Sojourners, as well as Galen Carey, Vice President for Government Relations for the National Association of Evangelicals are available for comment by contacting their respective press offices listed above.

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Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World, Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.