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? I’m back from vacation and happy that you got a few installments of the Buzz in my absence. It’s time to start thinking forward to 2012! I normally scoff at New Year’s resolutions, but this list – made by Woody Guthrie in 1942, when he was 30 – is just too charming. I want to dance better too, Woody!
According to a massive combined dataset at Gallup, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the United States, with 78% of adults identifying with some form of Christian religion. Trends show that number has been dropping, while the number of Americans who do not identify with any religious tradition is rising, up from just 6% in 1998 to 15% today. Americans are divided, however, about whether the United States is a Christian nation; 42% agree, 37% say that America was a Christian nation in the past, but is not one now, and 17% say that America was never a Christian nation.
Will Millennials be as crucial for Obama’s success in 2012 as they were in 2008? Gloomy predictions that Millennials’ disappointment in Obama will preclude their support may be premature, especially if Mitt Romney is the nominee.
The Iowa caucus is fast approaching,with no sign of a probable winner (things are looking up for Rick Santorum, and Phyllis Schlafly’s supporting Michele Bachmann, so it’s anyone’s game). Mark Blumenfeld offers some words of caution about placing too much trust in Iowa polls, which are historically volatile and unpredictable. We at PRRI as also cautioning against reading too much into the Iowa polls, especially those showing flagging support for Gingrich. Nationwide, Gingrich’s favorability ratings are as high as Romney’s among the key group of white evangelical Protestants.
Here’s some post-Christmas guilt, if you were celebrating with gifts on Sunday: the Pope urged his followers to look beyond the holiday’s “superficial glitter” to discover its “true light.” And it’s true that more Americans believe that Christian values are at odds with capitalism and the free market than believe they are compatible. So…does that mean you have to return your presents? No data on that.
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