March 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research found that just 16 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for candidates who speak regularly about their religious beliefs.

In fact, religious discussion is a turnoff for many voters. Thirty percent of poll respondents said they were less likely to vote for candidates who flaunt their religious commitments.

“Different people get a different picture in their mind when a political candidate shares or shows their religious convictions,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. “While some Americans warm up to this, many don’t see it as a positive.”

Respondents who identified as born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian are only 17 percent more likely to vote for the candidate espousing religious convictions compared to voters who do not share their beliefs. Similarly, these self-identified conservative Christians are only 16 percent more likely to choose “depends on the religion” when picking a candidate compared to those who do not identify with these beliefs.

The least surprising finding was that nonreligious Americans don’t like overly religious candidates. Sixty-seven percent of respondents who do not attend worship services said repeated religious rhetoric would make them “less likely to vote for a candidate.” Just 3 percent would be more likely to vote for the candidate.