April 3, 2012
Holy politics: Growing public distaste

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans increasingly oppose rising religiosity among politicians, especially in the Republican Party. Some Pew findings:

"The number saying there has been too much religious talk from political leaders now stands at its highest point since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago."

"Slightly more than half of the public (54 percent) says that churches should keep out of politics."

"At the same time, 51 percent of the public say that religious conservatives have too much control over the Republican Party."

"Since 2010, there have been sizable increases in the percentages of white mainline Protestants, white Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated saying that there has been too much discussion of religion by political leaders. However, there has been no change in opinions among white evangelical Protestants."

"Roughly half of college graduates (49 percent) now say there has been too much religious discussion from political leaders, up 14 points since 2010."

This survey pinpoints growing public distaste with the GOP's fundamentalist wing -- and with the sanctimony of candidates such as birth-control opponent Rick Santorum or serial wife-betrayer Newt Gingrich. Their pious posturing annoys many.

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