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? According to the EPA, the beach is a dangerous place, and it’s not because you forgot to pack your sunscreen. A new report says that digging and playing in sand is actually more likely to make beachgoers sick than swimming or sunbathing…and it’s because of sewage. I’ll let you decide if you want to read on.
A new poll shows that by better than 2 to 1, Americans say the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him. As last week’s PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey also showed, Obama edges out Romney in a head-to-head match-up.
The debate continues to rage over whether the Obama administration erred in its refusal to grant a broader religious exemption for religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges on no-cost birth control for the institutions’ employees. A new PRRI survey shows that Catholics are relatively divided (52% support the requirement and 45% oppose it), despite the American Catholic bishops’ concerted opposition.
Is Mitt Romney the “stealth Tea Party candidate”? According to Theda Skocpol, Romney’s stance on immigration could endear him to Tea Party members, even if he does have Swiss bank accounts and the support of most of the GOP establishment. The question – considering that nearly half (47%) of Americans who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement say they are also part of the Christian conservative or religious right movement – is how they feel about Romney’s Mormon faith. (Thanks to Vivian for sending this in!)
Many white working-class voters believe that Romney is not paying his fair share in taxes. For more on why the white working class voters will matter in the 2012 election, check out this article by our CEO, Dr. Robert P. Jones.
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