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Party “Friendliness” to Religion

Sponsor: Pew Forum On Religion and Public Life
Released: 2009-12

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More Americans continue to view the Republican Party as friendly toward religion (48%) than rate the Democratic Party that way (29%). President Barack Obama’s administration, however, is seen as friendly toward religion by more people (37%) than the Democratic Party as a whole. And all three get higher ratings for friendliness toward religion than the news media (14%), scientists (12%) or Hollywood (11%).

After peaking at 38% in mid-2008 during Obama’s presidential election campaign, the number of Americans describing the Democratic Party as friendly toward religion returned in mid-2009 to levels similar to those seen in 2005 through 2007. About one-in-five say Democrats are unfriendly toward religion (22%), up from 15% who felt that way last year but about the same as in surveys conducted in 2005 and 2006.

Views of the Democrats’ stance toward religion have soured sharply among groups that were already inclined to view the Democratic Party negatively, such as Republicans and white evangelical Protestants. But they have also turned more negative among both independents as well as Democrats who are ideologically moderate or conservative. These are among the main findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted Aug. 11-27 among 4,013 adults reached on both landlines and cell phones.