January 2018 Church & State - January 2018

Univ. Of Md. Poll Shows Broad Public Support For Johnson Amendment

  Univ. Of Md. Poll Shows Broad Public Support For Johnson Amendment

A new survey yet again demonstrates the vast public support for the Johnson Amendment, a provision in federal law that protects the integrity of our elections and of tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring that nonprofits don’t endorse or oppose political candidates.

The Program for Public Consultation (PPC) at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy in November released the findings of its survey that show the majority of respondents support the Johnson Amendment.

The new poll revealed that 88 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 71 of Republicans don’t want the Johnson Amendment to be repealed, with 55 percent of people reporting that keeping the provision in place is “very important.”

Additionally, 56 percent of evangelical Christians expressed support for the Johnson Amendment. Those iden­ti­fying as Republican evangelicals were the only group supporting repeal, with a bare majority at 52 percent.

“Americans are frustrated with the degree of partisan polarization in this country.  The idea of churches and universities becoming channels for partisan political activity makes this proposal a non-starter with Republican and Democratic voters alike,” PPC Director Steven Kull said in a statement.

The PPC poll echoes the results of other recent surveys by the Pew Research Center, Public Religion Research Institute, Independent Sector and LifeWay Research that found broad public support for the Johnson Amendment.

Nonetheless, President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” and Republican leaders in Congress have introduced attempts to weaken or repeal the law in the House version of the tax bill, in a federal spending bill and in standalone legislation. At Church & State’s press time none of these efforts had come to fruition, but neither had any been killed.

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