When it comes to Americans’ views on churches and religious institutions, there’s a sharp partisan divide. According to new polling data released by the Pew Research Center, Republicans are significantly more likely to view religious organizations as having a positive effect “on the way things are going in the country.”
In fact, 73 percent of Republicans have favorable views of churches and religious institutions versus 50 percent of Democrats, with Pew affirming that Democrats are “more ideologically divided” than their Republican peers.
And it’s easy to see just how splintered party adherents are once one dives deeper into that data.
Among liberal Democrats, just 40 percent said that churches and religious institutions are positive, with a slightly higher percentage — 44 percent — saying that these groups are actually negative. The majority (58 percent) of more conservative or moderate Democrats, though, see churches as positive rather than negative (29 percent), according to the results.
On the Republican front, the majority of both conservative Republicans (75 percent) and moderate or liberal Republicans (68 percent) see religious institutions as having a positive impact on society.
But churches aren’t the only institutions for which there’s a stark divide, as views on media yield an even deeper ideological split.
“On balance, more liberal Democrats say the national news media has a positive (51 percent) than negative (39 percent) impact on the country. Opinion among conservative and moderate Democrats is the reverse (39 percent positive, 51 percent negative),” the Pew report reads. “Among Republicans, negative views of the news media are shared by large majorities of both conservative Republicans (87 percent) and moderate and liberal Republicans (80 percent).”
It’s no secret that there’s been a divide when it comes to partisan views on faith, with the “nones” — those unaffiliated with a particular faith — now outpacing every other individual faith group among Democrats.
This is an issue that Michael Wear, a former Obama administration staffer with the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, dealt with in his book, “Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America.”
Wear, an evangelical and a Democrat, talked to Faithwire earlier this year about some of the problems and missteps that he believes hampered former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and much of it centered on the way the campaign handled certain faith groups.
“If you’re going into an election … and you have appealed all kinds of different folks on their terms, but evangelicals and Catholics are two of the only groups you haven’t said … ‘I want your vote,’ then that’s going to be a problem,” Wear said.
Read more about that issue here and listen to Wear explain it all below: