Link Between Religion and Politics Is More Prevalent in GOP Primaries
The link between religion and politics that’s motivated many Republican primary voters this year is far less prevalent in public attitudes more broadly: Instead nearly six in 10 Americans express disinterest in whether a presidential candidate shares their religious views.
More than six in 10 in this ABC News/Washington Post poll also say political leaders should not rely on their religious beliefs in making policy decisions. And fewer than four in 10 say the country has gone too far in separating church and state; rather there’s been a modest increase since the 1990s in the number who see too much mixing of religion and government.
In two other issues related to religious sentiment for some Americans, more than half of the public overall continues to support gay marriage (52 percent) and to back legal abortion in all or most cases (54 percent).
On questions for which comparable data are available, results among all adults are far different from those found by exit polls in the Republican presidential primaries to date:
• In the 10 states in which the question has been asked, 64 percent of Republican primary voters have said it matters to them that a presidential candidate shares their religious beliefs. Among all Republicans in this national survey, that drops to 53 percent; among all Americans, 42 percent.
The number in the primaries includes 32 percent who say that shared religious beliefs matter “a great deal” to them, peaking at 47 percent in Mississippi, 46 percent in Alabama and 43 percent in Tennessee. Nationally, among all Republicans, it’s 23 percent; among all adults, 17 percent.