“Wide partisan differences over the impact of major institutions on the country.” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

Do churches and other religious organizations have a positive impact on the way things are going in the United States?

Americans are divided on that point, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday (July 10) that shows they align along predictable party lines.

Overall, a majority of Americans (59 percent) see religion as a positive, compared to 26 percent who say it has a negative impact on the way things are going in the U.S., according to Pew. Those numbers have held fairly steady in surveys since 2010.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Republicans or those who lean Republican said churches and religious organizations have a positive impact, with 14 percent saying that impact is negative, according to Pew.

Meanwhile, Democrats are split: Half of those who are or lean Democrat believe religious institutions have a positive impact, according to the survey, while 36 percent said they have a negative impact.

And those divides become stronger as one’s political ideology becomes stronger, particularly among Democrats, according to the data.

Liberal Democrats are about as likely to say religious institutions have a negative impact on the way things are going in the U.S. (44 percent) as they are positive (40 percent). But more conservative and moderate Democrats said such organizations have a positive effect on the country (58 percent, compared to 29 percent who say it is negative).

A majority of all Republicans — 75 percent of those who identify as conservative Republicans and Republican-leaning and 68 percent of those who are moderate and liberal Republicans — said religious institutions have a positive impact.

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Source: Religion News Service

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