Is Faith the Ultimate Divider?: The Intersections Between Religion and Political Behavior in the United States
Year of Graduation
Level of Access
Open Access Thesis
Department or Program
Government and Legal Studies
This thesis examines the complex relationship between religiosity and voting behavior in the United States. In a country where religion has diminished in importance over time, it seems rather fascinating that it still plays such a large role in the inner-workings of American politics. Chapter One analyzes the varying ways in which scholars have approached emergent political trends between religious groups, particularly with regards to political parties, voting behavior, and government representation. Chapter Two extends this analysis to the American National Election Studies (ANES), a national survey distributed to random samples of Americans during election seasons. The information from the ANES facilitated a more in-depth analysis of how individuals with varying levels of affiliations have interacted with politics, such as ideologies, affiliations, and feelings towards religiously salient political issues. Lastly, Chapter 3 focuses on college-aged students, using both the UCLA's CIRP Freshman Survey and the Bowdoin College Polar Poll, to evaluate how America's educated youth are interacting with politics. These data allowed for a more proper investigation into how a historically unreligious portion of the population interact with religion today, and how this may affect America's religious climate in the future, as students eventually grow into educated professionals and further immerse themselves into politics. Ultimately, this paper suggests that a growing political polarity has coincided with polarization in religion, with two coalitions-- a religious and non religious one moving in opposite directions, thus amounting to further divisions and misunderstandings between the American public.
American Politics Commons, Christian Denominations and Sects Commons, Political History Commons, Political Theory Commons, Public Policy Commons, United States History Commons