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.
This week’s graphic, using data from PRRI’s Religion, Values, and Immigration Reform Survey, illustrates the overall consensus among Americans on how the immigration system should deal with illegal immigrants, which crosses party lines. Majorities of Democrats (71%), independents (64%), and Republicans (53%) all agree that illegal immigrants should be permitted to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements. Members of the Tea Party stand out as the only political group in which a majority do not favor an earned path to citizenship.