The Religious Affiliations of U.S. Presidents
President Barack Obama was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for over 20 years before resigning his membership in 2008. Nearly half the nation's presidents have been affiliated with the Episcopal or Presbyterian churches. John F. Kennedy remains the only Catholic to have held the nation's highest office.
Public Opinion & Analysis
|December 19, 2008
Faith on the Hill: The Religious Affiliations of Members of Congress
A Pew Forum report compares the religious affiliations of the new Congress, which was sworn in on Jan. 6, with the religious affiliations of the U.S. population as a whole. The report also examines party-level differences in religious affiliation and looks at historical trends in the religious makeup of Congress.
|November 20, 2008
How the News Media Covered Religion in the General Election
A new study by the Pew Forum and the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that religion played a much more significant role in the media coverage of Barack Obama than it did in the press treatment of John McCain, but much of the Obama coverage related to false yet persistent rumors that he is a Muslim.
|November 13, 2008
States With Voter-Approved Constitutional Bans on Same-Sex Marriage, 1998-2008
A Pew Forum graphic shows that in the five years since Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage, more than half the nation's states have amended their constitutions to ban the practice.
|November 5, 2008
How the Faithful Voted
Among nearly every religious group, Barack Obama received equal or higher levels of support compared with the 2004 Democratic nominee, John Kerry. Still, a sizeable gap persists between Obama's support among white evangelical Protestants and his support among the religiously unaffiliated. Similarly, a sizeable gap exists between those who attend religious services regularly and those who attend less often.
|November 5, 2008
Stateline.org: Gay marriage critics sweep three states
Opponents of same-sex marriage scored resounding victories in Arizona and Florida on Election Day, and neared a win in California early Wednesday (Nov. 5) on a measure to ban gay marriages in the nation's most populous state.
|November 3, 2008
Trends in Religious Groups' Presidential Candidate Preferences
Incorporating an Oct. 29-Nov. 1 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the Pew Forum's tracking charts show how the candidates have fared among key religious groups over time.
See also: How Church Attendance Affects Religious Voting Patterns
|November 3, 2008
Will Obama Win the White Catholic Vote?
Surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press show that white Catholic support for Barack Obama has grown, taking him from a 13-percentage-point deficit in late September to an 8-point lead in late October. Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green looks behind these numbers to identify some of the factors that may be driving this shift.
|October 29, 2008
For Journalists: Election Night Media Tool Kit
Join the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life on election night 2008 and the following day for analysis of religion's role in the election, a preliminary breakdown of how the religious public voted and more. The Pew Forum will host three press conference calls for journalists starting on election night and continuing through Wednesday, Nov. 5.
|October 9, 2008
Will the Culture War Matter on Election Day?
Will escalating economic difficulties bring new fronts to the culture war? If the candidates focus more on culture war issues, will it help or hurt them with voters? The Pew Forum invited two culture war experts and a group of leading journalists to discuss these and other questions.
|October 7, 2008
Analyzing the Fall Campaign: Religion and the Presidential Election
Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green and Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, dissect polls and analyze trends in a wide-ranging discussion with journalists on the role religion is playing in the 2008 presidential campaign.
|October 1, 2008
Americans Wary of Church Involvement in Partisan Politics
On Sept. 28, more than two dozen pastors challenged IRS restrictions on the political activities of churches and other tax-exempt organizations. While a strong majority of Americans support religion's role in public life, an equally solid majority oppose church involvement in partisan politics.
|September 30, 2008
Candidate Preferences of Religious Voters Similar to 2004, But Economy a Higher Priority
A summer 2008 survey by the University of Akron found a "remarkable stability" in the candidate preferences of major religious groups when compared with those at a similar stage of the 2004 campaign.
|September 25, 2008
Pew Research Center Daily Number: Nearly Half of Americans Don't Know Obama Is a Christian
A mid-September survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows nearly half of Americans (46%) are unable to correctly identify Barack Obama as a Christian.
|September 23, 2008
Obama, McCain Poised to Expand Faith-Based Initiative
Both John McCain and Barack Obama have said they plan to build on President Bush's faith-based initiative. But how might they do that? The Pew Forum turned to two experts for answers.
John DiIulio on Obama's plans »
Stephen Goldsmith on McCain's plans »
|September 22, 2008
How the Media Have Handled Palin's Faith
Since being named to the GOP ticket by John McCain, Sarah Palin has generated extensive coverage of many aspects of her background, her record in public office and her family life. But what are voters learning from the media about the Alaska Governor's religious faith and beliefs?
|September 19, 2008
Pastors to Protest IRS Rules on Political Advocacy
On Sept. 28, pastors from 20 states will give political sermons from the pulpit to protest IRS restrictions on the political activities of churches and other charitable groups that are exempt from federal income taxation. To discuss these issues, the Pew Forum turns to church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle.
|September 12, 2008
Palin V.P. Nomination Puts Pentecostalism in the Spotlight
From the time she was a teenager until 2002, GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin attended a church affiliated with the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. An analysis based on the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey examines the demographic, religious and political characteristics of Pentecostals in the U.S.
|September 3, 2008
Survey Finds Alaskans Are Less Religious Than Most Americans
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a self-described "Bible-believing Christian," but statistics from the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey show that Alaskans are, by several measures, less religious than the overall U.S. population.
|August 21, 2008
More Americans Question Religion's Role in Politics
Some Americans are having a change of heart about mixing religion and politics. A new survey finds a narrow majority of the public saying that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and not express their views on day-to-day social and political matters.
|August 14, 2008
Pew Research Center: White Evangelicals Help McCain Close Gap
With fewer than two weeks to go before the start of the presidential nominating conventions, McCain has solidified his support among Republicans and white evangelicals, especially in the South, while Obama lags in attracting Clinton supporters.
|August 14, 2008
The Purpose Driven Campaign
John McCain and Barack Obama made their first joint appearance of the campaign at an event hosted by the Rev. Rick Warren on Saturday, Aug. 16. Senior Fellow John Green answers questions about what the candidates stand to gain from speaking with Warren and the challenges Warren faces as he attempts to broaden evangelicals' political agenda.
|August 7, 2008
Targeting the Faithful
Senior Fellow John Green spoke with former advisers to Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney about outreach to religious voters in the 2008 primaries. They also discussed the role faith outreach may play in the general election.
|August 7, 2008
The Candidates' Faith
John McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam when a captor showed him unexpected mercy, which affirmed his faith. Barack Obama was a community organizer in Chicago when a black church helped him embrace faith despite his serious doubts. Religion & Politics '08 now offers in-depth religious biographies that tell the candidates' faith stories and explain their views of how religion should impact public life.
|July 25, 2008
Stateline.org: Social Issues Crowd State Ballots
Besides electing a president on Nov. 4, voters in some key battleground states also will face divisive social policy choices, including whether to ban gay marriage in Florida and restrict affirmative action and abortion in Colorado.
|July 24, 2008
People & the Press: Democrats Highly Critical of New Yorker Cover
An analysis by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press examines partisan reactions to a satirical New Yorker cover depicting Barack Obama as a Muslim.
|July 17, 2008
McCain's Lead Among Evangelicals Smaller Than Bush's in '04
John McCain has a smaller lead among white evangelical Protestants than George W. Bush had at a similar point in the 2004 campaign, even though Barack Obama has made few inroads into this key constituency. Religiously unaffiliated voters, however, strongly favor the Democratic candidate.
|July 15, 2008
Pew Research Center: Belief Obama Is Muslim Is Durable, Bipartisan
The inaccurate belief that Barack Obama is Muslim appears to have virtually no effect on Republican voters. But Democrats who share the misperception are significantly less likely to support him, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
|July 10, 2008
Media Coverage of Religion in the '08 Campaign
A new report from the Pew Forum and the Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that media coverage of religion in the presidential primary campaign from January 2007 through April 2008 rivaled coverage of race and gender combined.
|June 5, 2008
Assessing a More Prominent 'Religious Left'
Liberal and progressive religious voices have become increasingly prominent in the 2008 presidential campaign. To complement a recent Pew Forum discussion on the "religious left," Senior Fellow John Green defines the various groups that make up the movement and talks about implications for the "religious right" and the presidential election.
|May 22, 2008
Religious Voters in 2008: Implications for Democrats, Republicans
At the Forum's May 2008 Faith Angle Conference, William Galston of the Brookings Institution and Michael Gerson of the Council on Foreign Relations spoke with journalists about changes in the Catholic and evangelical communities that could reshape the course of politics in 2008 and beyond.
|May 1, 2008
Religion and Progressive Politics in the 2008 Election
Religious activists with progressive perspectives have made their voices heard in the 2008 campaign. Senior Fellow John Green spoke with the directors of two progressive religious organizations and a professor of political science to find out where the "religious left" movement came from and how it might influence this year's election.
|April 25, 2008
Does Obama Have a Problem Among Catholic Voters?
Senior Fellow John Green and Associate Director Mark O'Keefe discuss Barack Obama's limited success with Catholic voters in Pennsylvania and look ahead to the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.
|April 11, 2008
A Primer on the Primary: Religious Voters in Pa.
The April 22 Pennsylvania primary looms large in the tight contest for the Democratic nomination. In an interview with Pew Forum Associate Director Mark O'Keefe, Senior Fellow John Green explains the connections Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain are trying to make with the state's religious voters.
|April 3, 2008
Courting Catholics in 2008
Senior Fellow John Green discusses Catholic voting trends in past elections, the challenges facing the campaigns as they reach out to Catholics and how the church’s growing Hispanic population may impact future elections.
|March 13, 2008
Is the 'God Gap' Closing?
In new books, Amy Sullivan of Time magazine and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post contend the "God gap" between Democratic and Republican Voters is closing, with implications for the 2008 election. They discussed their books with journalists at a recent Pew Forum event.
|March 10, 2008
Politics and the Pulpit 2008
With news reports that the IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ over a speech Barack Obama gave at the church's national meeting last year, congregations are wondering what role, if any, they can play in the political process. The Forum asked a leading legal expert to write a set of guidelines explaining the IRS rules.
|March 7, 2008
Religion and the Remaining Primaries
Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green discusses how the candidates fared among religious voters in the March 4 primaries, the role that religious voters could play in upcoming Democratic contests and whether false rumors about Obama's faith could hurt his chances for the nomination.
|February 8, 2008
Does McCain Need Evangelical Voters?
Senior Fellow John Green looks at the importance of the evangelical vote for the McCain campaign, the challenges posed by religious constituencies across the primary field and the impact of Mitt Romney’s withdrawal on the race for the Republican nomination.
|February 1, 2008
Personal Faith and Candidate Image in the 2008 Campaign
The personal faith of candidates has played a significant role in the 2008 campaign. Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green answered questions about the history of faith in presidential politics, campaign efforts to religiously define candidates and how the faith factor might impact Super Tuesday.
|January 24, 2008
Will Evangelical Voters Rally Around a Single Candidate in 2008?
With Super Tuesday fast approaching, the Pew Forum's John Green answered questions about evangelical voting patterns in the early primaries, evangelical response to the Romney campaign and Democratic efforts to reach out to evangelical voters.
|December 4, 2007
The Religion Factor in the 2008 Election
Drawing on his own analysis of extensive survey data, Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green discussed the structure of religion and politics in the U.S. and how it may influence the 2008 presidential election. Green spoke with journalists at the December 2007 Faith Angle Conference.
|December 4, 2007
How the Public Perceives Romney, Mormons
Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech on Thursday, Dec. 6, acknowledged his Mormon beliefs while explaining his view of religion's role in public life. A Pew Research Center analysis of recent polling data examines the public's mixed views of Mormonism and perceptions of Romney.
|November 7, 2007
Religious Groups' Presidential Candidate Preferences
A new analysis of recent surveys show Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as the preferred candidates among key religious groups. Giuliani, though, garners considerably less support from white evangelical Protestants than he does from white mainline Protestants and white Catholics.
|October 15, 2007
A Portrait of Republican Social-Issue Voters
A large portion of Republican voters say social issues will be very important in deciding who to vote for in the 2008 election. An analysis of a recent Pew Research Center survey finds that these Republican social-issue voters differ from other members of the GOP coalition.
|September 28, 2007
Young White Evangelicals: Less Republican, Still Conservative
An analysis of surveys conducted between 2001 and 2007 suggests that young white evangelicals have become increasingly dissatisfied with President Bush and are moving away from the GOP. The question is whether these changes will result in a shift in white evangelical votes in 2008 and beyond.
|September 6, 2007
Clinton, Giuliani Not Seen as Very Religious; Romney's Mormonism Raises Concerns
Religion is not proving to be a clear-cut positive in the 2008 presidential campaign, a September survey finds. The candidates viewed by voters as the least religious among the leading contenders are front-runners Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, while voters still express concern about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.
|August 21, 2007
Religion and the Presidential Vote: A Tale of Two Gaps
For many political prognosticators, one of the major issues to watch in the 2008 campaign is the so-called "religion gap." But an analysis of public opinion surveys and national exit polls shows there are at least two religion gaps, one based on religious affiliation and the other based on frequency of attendance at worship services. Together they played a major role in 2004, and may do so again in 2008.
|June 22, 2007
Religious Republicans: Hanging Tough with Bush
Analysis of the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that religious Republicans strongly approve of President Bush's job performance, suggesting that religious Republicans are still a firm part of the GOP base.
|June 18, 2007
New Analysis of Presidential Candidates' Support among Religious Groups
A new survey analysis shows that Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani have strong levels of support across religious groups, but that enthusiasm and knowledge about other candidates varies among Catholics, mainline Protestants and evangelicals.
|June 6, 2007
Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee Discusses Faith and Politics
The Pew Forum invited former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to discuss the fate of social conservatives and how he sees religion playing out in the 2008 election and beyond. Huckabee also addressed his experiences as a pastor and a governor and answered questions about how his faith guides his public life.
|May 16, 2007
An Evolving Debate about Evolution
The fact that evolution was raised during the first Republican presidential debate demonstrates how recent high profile battles over teaching evolution in public schools have increased awareness of the controversy.
|May 16, 2007
Public Views of Presidential Politics and Mormon Faith
Surveys show strong public misgivings about the religion as well as about any presidential candidate who also belongs to the church
|April 19, 2007
High Court Decision Could Raise Abortion's Profile in Campaign
The 5-4 Supreme Court decision on April 18 upholding a federal law banning a highly controversial abortion procedure may dramatically raise abortion's importance in the presidential election campaign.
|April 19, 2007
The Culture War and the Coming Election
At the moment no hot-button issue looms over the 2008 election, but events could change that quickly.
|April 3, 2007
Presidential Preferences Among Religious Groups
A new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press examines the candidate preferences of several religious groups at this early stage of the 2008 presidential campaign: white Catholics, white mainline Protestants and white evangelical Republicans.