Americans with evangelical beliefs are more likely to care politically about healthcare and economic issues than they are about issues typically associated with evangelical political engagement such as religious liberty and abortion, a new survey found.
“Our respondents surprised us by how little they appeared to care about stereotypically evangelical causes,” Georgetown University professor Paul Miller wrote in a white paper analyzing the survey’s findings published by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
LifeWay Research released a new poll this month sponsored by the ERLC exploring the views of American evangelicals on politics, social civility, media consumption and their engagement with those who have opposing political ideas.
The survey was conducted last November and included responses from 1,317 evangelical respondents who were screened to distinguish between respondents with evangelical beliefs (933) and respondents who self-identified as evangelical Christians (1,001).
The respondents were specifically asked to identify three public policy concerns that “are most important to you.”
The top answer for both self-identified evangelicals and respondents with evangelical beliefs was “healthcare” (51 percent). The second-most common answer (49 percent for self-identified and 46 percent of those with evangelical beliefs) was “the economy.”
Forty percent of those with evangelical beliefs identified “national security,” while 43 percent of self-identified evangelicals did the same. Forty-one percent of self-identified evangelicals identified “immigration” as an issue of importance to them, while 39 percent of respondents with evangelical beliefs said the same.
Just 33 percent of both self-identified evangelicals and respondents with evangelical beliefs highlighted “religious liberty” as an issue of importance for them.
Twenty-nine percent of evangelicals by beliefs highlighted “abortion” as an issue of importance to them while 28 percent of self-identified evangelicals said the same.
Only four percent of both sets of respondents identified “LGBT rights” as a political issue that is important to them.
The finding may come as a bit of surprise considering prominent conservative evangelical leaders are regularly discussed in the media for their stances on sexuality and abortion.
The survey indicates that evangelicals take into account several issues thinking about who they vote for.
Less than 10 percent of respondents surveyed said their support for a political candidate “depends primarily on one issue.” Eight out of 10 respondents surveyed said their support depends on “several issues.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith