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? Some Upper East Siders clearly do not appreciate Gossip Girl. Faced with the prospect of an expansive four-block plaza outside the Metropolitan Museum, outraged neighbors are afraid that people (read: hoodlums en route to the new Renaissance portraiture exhibit) will use the space to “hang out.” God forbid…?
The Obama administration’s compromise on contraception – namely that women who work for religiously affiliated institutions can obtain their birth control directly from insurers – has run into a rather large hiccup: namely, self-insurance. It turns out that many of these religiously affiliated institutions choose to insure themselves, and they’re not so keen on dispensing birth control even through their role as insurers. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum’s super-PAC funder, Foster Freiss, has a few choice words about how contraception used to work back in the good ol’ days.
Speaking of Mr. Santorum, he’s going meta with an amusing new ad which attacks Romney for using negative attack ads. The ad is very popular, but some commentators are calling Santorum the “Tim Tebow” of politics (a title that Rick Perry once sought to claim), predicting that although he may be beating the odds, he won’t make it to the end zone. For more on how negative ads could reshape this year’s election campaign, check out our blog.
In a piece for the Examiner, AEI scholar Michael Barone explains how Santorum has been appealing to blue-collar voters, and what that means for the GOP campaign. For more on the politics of the white working class in the 2012 election, check out this Huffington Post piece by our CEO, Dr. Robert P. Jones.
At the New Republic, William Galston assesses whether Obama can keep his momentum going until November (the short answer: it’s all about the economy).
A new Pew Research Center survey shows that nearly 1-in-10 (8.4%) of marriages in the U.S. are between interracial couples. An interesting finding: black men were more than twice as likely as black women to marry someone outside their race (24% to 9%). Check out this NPR piece for more.
In politics, fate is fickle. Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine says that he did not endorse Santorum, per se.
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