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Fewer Democrats tend to be churchgoers, survey says
By Kevin J. Jones
Christians pray in church. Credit: Mazur
Christians pray in church. Credit: Mazur

.- Republicans are more likely to attend church than Democrats, while Catholics’ presence in both U.S. political parties has dropped slightly, a new Gallup poll says.

“Democrats remain less likely to attend church weekly and more likely to seldom or never attend church than the national average,” Gallup reported on Nov. 7.

About 52 percent of Democrats or those who lean Democrat seldom or never attend church, a Gallup survey from June-August 2011 found. This is an increase of two percent since a Gallup poll conduced in January-March of 2008. Although the 2008 poll found that 29 percent of this group said they attended weekly, in 2011 only 27 percent said the same.

Among Republicans or those who lean Republican, 38 percent say they seldom or never attend church—a two percent increase since the 2008 poll. Forty-three percent of this group reported weekly attendance in 2008, while only 40 percent reported the same in the latest survey.

The slight two-point decrease in Democrats who attend church weekly is similar to the one-point decrease in the national adult sample,” Gallup said.

About 33 percent of respondents in 2011 said they attend church weekly, while 46 percent said they seldom or never attend.

The survey also reported a decline in Catholic representation.

In 2008, 26 percent of Democrats said they were Catholic, while 24 percent said the same in 2011. About 23 percent of Republicans in 2008 said they were Catholic, though 22 percent said so in 2011.

The 2008 poll also showed that 25 percent of U.S. adults identified as Catholic, while in 2011 only 23 percent did, the Gallup Poll says. The number of those with no religious preference grew from 12 to 15 percent.

About 19 percent of Democrats and those who lean toward the party in 2011 stated they have no religious preference, an increase from 15 percent in 2008. Republican-leaners with no religious preference grew from seven to nine percent.

The Gallup Poll used telephone interviews of random samples of more than 88,000 adults aged 18 and over. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point.


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