Apparently, by using “communal” indicators for religious involvement instead of “individual” indicators, you can find a whole lot of politically liberal, religious folks out there whose existence hasn’t been plumbed by previous studies on the topic of religious identity and politics.
See a press release from the University of Florida here, announcing the release of the study headed by UF professor Kenneth Wald. A juicy tidbit from the publication:
American commentators, scholars and the public have assumed Republicans are more religious because studies have gauged devotion by such traditional measures as daily prayer, Scripture reading and regular church attendance, Wald said. Such individual acts of piety are important to evangelical Protestants, who tend to vote Republican, he said.
“We sensed there was a style of religious attachment that is less individualistic and more focused on the social and communal aspects of people’s lives,” Wald said. “This orientation is much more based on who one’s friends and family are and how involved one is with the life of the religious community.”
The researchers first proposed broadening the scope of questions about religious practices in the 2006 American National Election Studies Pilot Study survey of 675 people, and the ANES later incorporated them into its regular 2008 presidential election year survey of 2,100. Respondents who scored high on these newly included communal measures of religiosity were much more likely to vote for Democratic candidates for both Congress in 2006 and president in 2008, he said.
(Unsurprisingly, by the way, Prof. Wald is apparently teaching a course called “Religion and Public Policy” and another called “Survey Research” this semester.)
I guess we all knew it was true for Jews that religiously involved Jews were at least as likely to be liberal as conservative . The ostensible chiddush here is that many religiously committed Christians support progressive policies as well. Is this surprising?