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Partisans’ Religious Responses to the Political Environment

Partisans’ Religious Responses to the Political Environment

(p.103) Five Partisans’ Religious Responses to the Political Environment
From Politics to the Pews
Michele F. Margolis
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 5 explains why partisanship can matter for individual religious behaviors and outlooks. The elite-level link between the Republican Party and organized religion allows voters to associate the parties with different levels of religiosity. Evidence from two survey experiments demonstrates that the close relationship between Republicans and organized religion has pushed Democrats out of the organized religious sphere, while bringing Republicans deeper into the religious fold. Panel data provide additional verification of this finding by allowing me to see how partisans respond when the linkages between religion and the Republican Party become more salient. The data show that, thanks to the increasing importance of gay marriage as a political issue in 2004, party identi?cation in?uenced subsequent religious practices: Democrats (Republicans) reported lower (higher) rates of religiosity in 2004 than they did in 2000 or 2002. And, consistent with the life-cycle theory, this relationship is strongest among respondents who were of an age when they were likely considering re-engaging with or increasing participation in religious life.

Keywords:   religion and politics, gay marriage, immigration, panel data, survey experiments, priming, socialization

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