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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What America Thinks: Does Religion Even Matter Anymore?

John F. Kennedy had to convince Americans in 1960 that he wouldn’t answer to the pope to become the first Catholic elected president of the United States. In more recent years, most Republican candidates have felt compelled to meet a religious conservative litmus test to win their party’s nomination. But religion is a lot less in play this election cycle. What does America think about the role of religion in presidential politics?

Forty-three percent (43%) of Likely U.S. Voters still rate a candidate’s religious faith as important to their vote, but that’s down from 62% 10 years ago. Sixty-four percent (64%) are aware this year of the religious faith of political candidates, but that level of awareness is down 20 points from the last presidential cycle in 2012.

Voters have strongly felt for years that it is inappropriate for religious leaders to suggest whom they should vote for in elections, but only a third believe those leaders have too much influence over government policy.

Most Americans still consider themselves religious, though younger Americans are less religious than their elders. And 71% say their religious faith is important in their daily life. This has changed little over the past several years.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.