Navigation Links
New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling

The way the evangelical movement is defined has profound implications for where evangelicals fit into the political spectrum, according to a study by sociologists at Rice University and the University of Texas-Austin.

"In this election year, there is much debate over whether Sen. Obama can shave off enough evangelical votes to carry certain swing states, said Rice's D. Michael Lindsay, one of the researchers. "That depends a great deal on which poll you are looking at and, more importantly, how the survey defines the evangelical population."

For instance, the study found, "If one uses beliefs on religious issues (such as whether Satan exists) to define evangelicals, they will be noticeably more conservative in political outlook than if one uses self-classifications by the individual to define the group."

The study, "Measuring Evangelicalism: Consequences of Different Operationalization Strategies," was co-authored by Lindsay and Conrad Hackett, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas-Austin, and appears in this month's Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

There are three distinct ways national poll organizations define evangelicals:

  1. Denominational affiliation, as is done in the General Social Survey
  2. Self-classification ("Would you call yourself an evangelical, or born-again, Christian?), as is done in surveys from the Gallup Organization and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
  3. Beliefs on specific religious issues, as is done by the Barna Research Group

To prove their point, Lindsay and Hackett used a single set of survey data, the 1998 General Social Survey, which included questions using all three ways of defining evangelicals.

They found that depending on how one defines an evangelical using this data, the percentage varies 10 percentage points.

Method of defining an evangelical Percentage that are Republican
Denominational affiliation 59
Self-classification 53
Beliefs on specific religious issues 63

Since this is an election year, the most interesting finding relates to the percentage of evangelicals who lean toward being or are strong Republicans.

"Evangelicals continue to be the most organized constituency of the Republican Party," Lindsay said. "However, Democrats have made unprecedented efforts to woo religious voters. They won't win the votes of all evangelicals, but in a tight election year, they don't have to -- only a few are needed. The perception over whether evangelicals are remaining loyal Republicans or are leaning Democratic depends, in great measure, on which survey is being cited. Evangelicals are the most discussed but least defined population among the American electorate."


Contact: David Ruth
Rice University

Related biology news :

1. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
2. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
3. New study offers solution to global fisheries collapse
4. St. Jude study gives new insights into how cells accessorize their proteins
5. Duke to lead new NSF, EPA center to study the environmental implications of nanotechnology
6. NSF funds multi-university center to study environmental implications of nanotechnology
7. Study finds ATV guidelines inadequate
8. Flatworm helps researchers study stem cells and cancer
9. Study reveals how viruses collectively decide the fate of a bacterial cell
10. UC Riverside botanist to study role of plants in southern Californias drought
11. Book breaks new ground in the study of economics and forest threats management
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015  In this report, the ... of product, type, application, disease indication, and ... report are consumables, services, software. The type ... biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The ... diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, personalized ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International ... million to provide preclinical development services to the National ... contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and ... variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and ... new book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, ... of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... November 27, 2015 ... popularity of companion diagnostics is one of ... market with pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic manufacturers ... tests. . --> ... report on global cancer biomarkers market spread ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ... adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in an ... loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of the Internal ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could be ... as defined in Section 382 of the Code. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. ... Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will ... Conference in New York . ... visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the ... replay of the presentation will be available on the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PORTLAND, Oregon , November 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Deep Market Research Report is a professional and ... Genomics industry.      (Logo: ... basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, ... analysis is provided for the international markets including ...
Breaking Biology Technology: