December 2, 2011

White Evangelical Protestants and the Partisan Divide

4-in-10

Roughly 18% of Americans are white Evangelical Protestants, but they make up nearly four-in-ten members of core Republican groups.

Roughly 18% of Americans are white Evangelical Protestants, but they make up nearly four-in-ten members of two core Republican groups in the Pew Research Center’s Political Typology. White Evangelicals make up 43% of Republicans who fall into the category of Staunch Conservatives and 39% of those who fall into the category of Main Street Republicans. Main Street Republicans differ from Staunch Republicans in the degree of their conservatism.

Two other groups identified in the typology draw one-fifth or more of white Evangelicals into their ranks – they are Disaffecteds, who are considered as independents but lean towards the Republican Party, and Hard-Pressed Democrats. Both groups are religious, socially conservative, critical of government and concerned about immigrants. White Evangelicals comprise 28% of Disaffecteds and 20% of Hard-Pressed Democrats.

Very few Solid Liberals (4%) or Post-Moderns (2%) are white Evangelical Protestants. On the contrary, these two groups are the most likely to be religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, or no religious affiliation). Four-in-ten of Solid Liberals and 31% of Post-Moderns are unaffiliated, compared with 18% of Americans overall. Post-Moderns are well-educated, financially comfortable, and strong supporters of Barack Obama in 2008. Read More