A new report from Gallup shows some startling revelations about American Democrats. While it's been known for quite some time that Republicans are more likely to attend church, this new analysis from the non-partisan research group adds greater understanding the faith dynamics of those who subscribe to Democratic ideals.
A new analysis of past Gallup data examines Democrats' stances in 2011 as opposed to their views and actions back in 2008. According to data collected earlier this summer, 52 percent of Democrats -- a majority -- "seldom or never" attend church. Below, see a chart that illustrates the 2008 and 2011 proportions:
This proportion is up slightly from 50 percent in 2008. Also, the proportion who attend church weekly has declined by two percentage points -- from 29 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011. But Republicans, too, have declined in their church attendance (as has the nation as a whole). As Gallup reported last month:
Republicans are more likely than the public at large to say they regularly attend their church or other place of worship; however, this distinction has diminished slightly since 2008. Forty percent of Republicans today say they attend church weekly, down from 43% in 2008. But there has also been a decline in weekly church attendance nationally since 2008, from 34% to 33%.
Here is a graphic that showcases these changes, comparing Republicans' behaviors in 2008 to their church-related actions in 2011:
In addition to the decline in weekly attendance, Republicans also increased from 36 percent to 38 percent among those claiming that they "seldom or never" attend church.
Clearly, it seems both Democrats and Republicans have experienced a decline in church attendance. However, the changes are more profound among leftist adherents, seeing as the proportion that "seldom or never" attends church has now crossed the 50 percent mark.
During the three-year gap between the first and second datasets, it was also found that Democrats have become less white and more liberal. There was a two-percentage point uptick among those Democrats who called themselves "liberal" (up from 35 percent to 37 percent).
In assessing the development that more than half of Democrats rarely step foot in churches, conservative sociologist Todd Alridge says, “It’s not surprising to learn that a majority of those who have ‘liberal’ views don’t pass through the church doors very often.” He continues:
"All of the social views that politically divide us such as marriage, abortion and homosexuality are rooted in Scripture. If you don’t subscribe to a Christian worldview, or for that matter any other religious belief, then the only basis for your personal beliefs will be from what you see and experience through mass media or through your own personal experiences.”
While there have been changes among Democrats, Gallup concluded that the "demographic and ideological composition" of Republicans is very similar today to where it stood in 2008. In the study, Democrats were defined as those individuals who claim allegiance to the Democratic Party or who are independents say they lean toward the party (the same goes for Republicans).
It will be interesting to see how this pattern continues to formulate, especially considering the Obama campaign's efforts to reach out to religious voters.
(H/T: The Christian Post)