Mark A. Smith is professor of Political Science and an adjunct professor of Comparative Religion and Communication at the University of Washington. His research focuses on economic and religious groups, ideas, and influences in American politics. In his new book, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, Dr. Smith argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is and is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them.
Welcome to the Morning Buzz, PRRI’s morning dose of religion-related news with a shot of data – because what doesn’t liven up a morning round-up like some public opinion numbers? It’s almost December, and Consumer Reports helpfully documented some of the reasons that people “dread” the upcoming holiday season. Some are understandable (standing in long lines and dealing with crowds) but others seem just a tad grinchy (“holiday tipping,” “disappointing gifts,” and “being nice”). Ah, how the holidays bring out the best in all of us.
According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, more Americans disagree (27%) than agree (20%) with the Tea Party. A recent PRRI survey found that equal numbers of Americans say that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street share their values; however, the Tea Party’s increasing unpopularity may bode well for the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement.
Mitt Romney snagged endorsements from three prominent Cuban-American leaders, despite his hard-line stance on immigration. One said that she does not agree with Romney on the issue of immigration, but that she’s willing to overlook it, given the slumping economy. When Americans are asked to choose between a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that couples enforcement with a path to citizenship on the one hand, and an enforcement and deportation only approach on the other, Americans prefer the comprehensive approach to immigration reform over the enforcement only approach by a large margin (62 percent vs. 36 percent).
The internet has been abuzz today with the news that Herman Cain may drop out of the GOP primary race. The question is – can Newt Gingrich pick up Cain’s support among white evangelicals, given his turbulent marital history? Read more at our blog.
Apparently, even though the iPhone’s voice-activated assistant, Siri, can tell you where to dump a body, it cannot tell you where to go to get an abortion. According to a recent PRRI report, 6-in-10 (58%) Americans say that at least some health care professionals in their communities should provide legal abortions.
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