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Thursday, November 18, 2010

American Exceptionalism and Religion: New Data

At Brookings, E.J. Dionne, Jr. and William Galston write of a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute:
The PRRI survey underscored the extent to which a religiously-based belief in American exceptionalism is alive and well. This may have had little direct impact on the 2010 election, but its importance is likely to influence the rhetoric of American politicians going into the 2012 presidential election.

The survey found that 58 percent of all Americans mostly or completely agreed with the proposition that “God has granted America a special role in human history.” And responses to this question did not break entirely in predictable directions. For example, this was a view held across racial and ethnic lines: by 64 percent of Hispanics, 56 percent of whites, and 60 percent of African Americans. It did, however, divide the political parties to some degree: 75 percent of Republicans but only 49 percent of Democrats held this view. A belief in God’s grant of a special role to the United States was held by 75 percent of conservatives and 54 percent of moderates but only 38 percent of liberals. [emphasis added--jjp]