New Poll: Religion Still Affects Politics

By Joshua Witchger 3-28-2012
Flag Map image via Shutterstock
Flag Map image via Shutterstock

The more church you attend, the more likely you are to vote Republican. That's one of the findings from Gallup’s comprehensive study on U.S. states and their religious commitments (or lack thereof). And the data they account seems consistent with our current political climate.

According to Gallup’s “state of the states,” 40 percent of Americans are “very religious,” meaning they attend a service almost every week and believe religion is important to daily life. On the flip side, 32 percent are “nonreligious,” they don’t attend services regularly and don’t believe religion is important to daily life. The remaining 28 percent are “moderately religious,” they may believe religion is important but do not attend services themselves, or they may attend services but think it unimportant to daily life.

Gallop believes this data shows “state culture,” a notion that the location and history of a place affects the way residents think about and participate in religion. They cite that the Deep South holds its identity as frontrunners in religious commitments, while New England and states in the far west tend to be less religious. The study also confirms that the “Bible belt” is becoming more moderate.

This recent data remains consistent with past findings – a strong correlation exists between a state’s religious and political views; thus, as usual, in the 2012 presidential election, the “moderately religious” states (like Virginia, Florida, New Mexico, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and others) are predicted to be hot campaign territory.

Gallup’s “State of the States”
Interactive map on state political data

Joshua Witchger is an online assistant at Sojourners.
Flag map image via Shutterstock

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