Monday, July 28, 2014

Religion Remains a Strong Marker of Political Identity in U.S. : Little change in basic relationship over last six and a half years

Gallup reports:
The relationship between Americans' religiousness and their party preference is a persistent and well-documented social pattern that has remained extraordinarily stable over the last six and a half years. The basic nature of the relationship -- in which those who are the most religious are the most likely to identify as Republicans -- has changed little. With few exceptions, Americans' religiousness remains a major predictor of their political orientation.

The underlying explanations for the relationship are complex, and have to do with the historical development of partisan politics in the decades since Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were president, differing positions of the parties on moral and values issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, and geographic patterns of residency that are simultaneously related to religiousness and partisanship.

From a practical politics standpoint, Republicans face the challenge of expanding their party's appeal beyond the minority of Americans who are very religious, and appealing to Hispanics and Asians given that even the most religious of these growing groups tilt Democratic, albeit not as much as others in these groups who are less religious. Democrats face the challenge of attempting to broaden their party's appeal beyond the base of those who are moderately or nonreligious, a tactic that most likely will require effort to frame the party's positions on social justice and equality issues in a way that is compatible with a high degree of religiousness.
Check out the charts.