The share of Americans who think it is important that a president have strong religious beliefs has been steadily declining over the past two election cycles and has reached a new low in Pew Research Center polling. In 2008, 72% said this was an important characteristic. That share dipped slightly in 2012 to 67%, and now 62% say that having strong religious beliefs is an important presidential trait. Meanwhile, the corresponding share of those who disagree that it is important for a president to have strong religious beliefs has been steadily growing and currently stands at 35%.
While most U.S. adults continue to say that churches, synagogues and other houses of worship contribute “a great deal” (19%) or “some” (38%) to solving important social problems, the share expressing this view has declined sharply in recent years, from 65% in 2012 and 75% as recently as 2008.
Roughly four-in-ten Protestants who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians say it has become more difficult in recent years to be an evangelical Christian in the U.S. (41%), up from a third (34%) who held this view in 2014. This perspective is more common among white evangelicals (46%) than among non-white evangelical Protestants (31%), though the share of non-white evangelicals who say it has gotten tougher to be an evangelical has ticked up 9 percentage points since 2014.
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Friday, July 15, 2016
Religion in Public Life