New Poll: Religion in the 2008 Election

A poll released today by Public Religion Research and sponsored by a coalition of progressive, faith-based organizations has some surprises about the role faith played in the 2008 presidential election and how faith voters are approaching the country’s challenges. Not surprisingly, religious voters, like all voters generally, identified the economy as their number one issue. What is interesting is that other social concerns such as abortion and same-sex marriage were far down on the list of voter’s preoccupations. When asked to rank the importance of various issues in their vote, respondents identified first, the economy (70%), followed by Iraq (35%), health care (31%), terrorism (19%), abortion (14%) and same-sex marriage (6%). 

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The poll also found that nearly twice as many Catholics think the best way to ensure peace is through diplomacy rather than military strength (61% vs. 32%), much like the general population (61% vs. 29%). White evangelicals split evenly over whether diplomacy or military strength is the best way to ensure peace (43% each). Lastly, there is an interesting piece of data for those conducting a post-mortem on the Palin vice-presidential pick: Palin’s nomination increased support among fewer than one-third of white evangelicals (30%), and decreased support among every other religious group and political independents. Among white evangelicals, a majority (54%) say her selection didn’t affect their support for McCain, and an additional 14% say her selection made them less likely to support McCain.

The full results can be found here.

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