From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Public Says Religious Leaders Have Little
04 May 1996 21:52:31
95451 Public Says Religious Leaders Have Little
Influence on Politics
by George H. Gallup Jr. and Robert Bezilla
Produced by New York Times Special Features
Distributed by United Methodist News Service
PRINCETON, N.J.--The public is divided on whether religious leaders have
too much or too little influence on public opinion in this country, but in
the final analysis few consider the clergy to be an important voice when
they form their own political views.
Nearly half the people think church influence is about right, but the
remainder are split between those who want religious figures to have more
influence and those who think they already have too much.
Fewer than one person in 10 says religious leaders are most likely to
influence their own views of the day. In a recent Gallup Poll only seven
percent of respondents mentioned religious leaders, while far more looked
to the news media (42 percent) or to their family or friends (30 percent)
for guidance in public affairs.
Interestingly, only 10 percent cited political leaders as having the
Political conservatives are most inclined to say religious leaders are
having too little influence on public opinion (36 percent), while liberals
more often think they already have too much (34 percent).
Similarly, those who say religion is important in their own lives want
religious leaders to have more influence across the land (34 percent).
Among those who say religion is only fairly important or of little
importance, many would welcome a diminution of the political power of the
The findings are based on telephone interviews with a representative
national sample of 1,011 adults, ages 18 and older, conducted in September
of this year. The margin of error could be three percentage points in
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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