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?
A tip for a long-lasting marriage: tie the knot in New Jersey. Seriously.
As Romney’s polling numbers continue to improve, he faces two headaches in the form of third party candidates. Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (who you may remember from his brief debut at one of the many, many Republican debates) could potentially siphon votes away from Romney in key swing states.
Jon Meacham suggests that the age of the WASP president may be ending (although younger Millennials still express significant discomfort with the prospect of an atheist, Mormon, or Muslim president), but when will voters have the opportunity to choose a candidate who is not rich?
Could Obama win the Latino Protestant vote?
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll revealed that voters are more likely to see Obama as “honest and trustworthy,” compared to Romney. Similarly, in our recent survey of younger Millennials, we found that 56% said that Obama was more “honest and trustworthy,” while less than 3-in-10 (29%) said the same of Romney.
An interesting question for state-level pollsters: what to do about cell phone users who have an out-of-state area code?
Rick Steves brought a hemp backpack to a pro-marijuana rally in Washington State, to show his support for I-502, a ballot initiative that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. The man is full of surprises.