It is a commonly held belief that American voters want to know about the religious leanings of their presidential candidates. Do they believe in a god; and if so, which one? Why do they believe? And how will this belief inform their policies? Will they defend the separation of church and state? Or will they use federal monies to fund “faith-based” initiatives? These are the sorts of things we want to know … aren’t they?
Last month, USA Today reported on a new study just released by Lifeway Research. According to their survey of 2000 voters, only 16% of Americans would find themselves more likely to vote for a candidate if he or she were to consistently express religious beliefs in public forums. Now take a look at some of the other findings:
As you can see, Republicans (32%) are eight times more likely to be positively influenced by a candidate’s religious views than are Democratic voters (4%). Conversely, more than half of all Democrats (55%) would actively move away from supporting a religiously vocal candidate, as opposed to the 7% of Republicans who would do the same.
So what do you think? Does a candidate who expresses his or her religious beliefs have the potential to draw you towards them or does it tend to push you away?