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? An interesting question: is Mitt Romney kitschy? And will that help or hurt him among Millennials?
At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver has some insightful commentary about the sliver of voters who have a favorable view of President Obama, but don’t approve of his job performance – and how they could help decide the election.
President Obama’s publicly announced support for same-sex marriage may or may not have influenced the national electorate, but what about voters in states where same-sex marriage will actually be on the ballot this November. Read more at NPR – but remember that while nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans correctly report knowing that President Obama favors allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, 12% said (incorrectly) that he opposes same-sex marriage, and 15% say they don’t know.
Tea Party activists in Arizona say that Obamacare has “regenerated” the movement. It’s certainly a plausible claim: just before the ruling came down, no group was more supportive of the Supreme Court overturning the health care law than members of the Tea Party.
Columnist Ross Douthat asks, in yesterday’s New York Times, whether liberal Christian denominations like the Episcopal Church can reverse the past decade’s drops in attendance. According to the 2012 Millennial Values Survey, Catholics and white mainline Protestants saw the biggest decreases due to younger Millennials’ changing religious identity.
Has the recession reset Americans’ perspectives on the American Dream? Last fall, Americans were divided on whether the American Dream still holds true, whether it once held true but not anymore, or whether it never held true.