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AAPOR Presentation 2012
 

AAPOR Presentation 2012

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  • How much do Americans know about Mormonism and Islam? Not too much.Less than 1-in-5 say they know a lot about the religious beliefs and practices of Muslims and Mormons. A majority says they know a little and roughly 3-in-10 say they know nothing at all.What’s interesting hear is that despite the similar levels of knowledge about these two religious groups Mormons are viewed more favorably than American Muslims.
  • Looking at the degree to which people perceive Mormonism and Islam are similar to their own religious belief systems we find that most Americans believe these two religions are quite different from their own.Only roughly 1-in-5 Americans says either the Muslims religion or the Mormon religion have religious beliefs similar to their own. And again, the patterns do not differ too significantly between views about Mormonism and Islam here.
  • Among all major religious groups in the U.S. atheists are generally viewed most unfavorably by the general public. Roughly equal numbers have a favorable and unfavorable view of atheists. In comparison a majority of Americans report that they have a favorable view of American Muslims; two-thirds report having a favorable view of Mormons and more than 8-in-10 Americans are favorably disposed towards Catholics and JewsI should note that American Muslims are viewed about 10-15 points more favorably than Muslims. Americans make a significant distinction between Muslims in this country and Muslims elsewhere in the world. There is also evidence that, without prompting most Americans think of Muslims outside the U.S. or non-American Muslims when asked questions about Muslims or Islam.
  • First, a slim majority of Americans say they would be comfortable with a Mormon president, while 44% say that this would make them uncomfortable.In contrast, more than 6-in-10 Americans say that they would be uncomfortable with a Muslims presidentThese responses are consistent with what we find in general affect towards these groups, Mormons are generally viewed more positively than Muslims.
  • The question that’s been entertaining pundits and politicos for the past year is how will Mitt Romney’s religion affect his chances in the Republican primary and then again in the general election. Many folks including myself have suggested that Romney’s faith would be more of an issue in the primary when white evangelical Protestants have an outsized impact in selecting the nominee.Recent data suggests that it may not be much of a factor in the general election.
  • The pattern of responses across religious groups is instructive. Catholics, the religious unaffiliated and white evangelicals are all divided on how comfortable they would feel with a Mormon President. However, the reasons for the discomfort likely differs between these groupsAt opposite extremes are white mainline Protestants and black Protestants: two-thirds of white mainline Protestants say they would be comfortable with a Mormon president and more than 6-in-10 black Protestants say they would be uncomfortable.I want you to remember the white mainline protestant number because I’m going to come back to this.
  • One important question to answer if we are considering what effect Romney’s faith may have on his electoral prospects is how many voters are actually aware of what it is.Earlier this month we found that only a slim majority of voters could correctly identify Romney’s religion as Mormon.Among Republican voters two-thirds were aware, while among Democratic voters less than half (43%) know Romney is MormonRemember this is from a poll conducted just a few weeks ago.
  • Knowledge of Romney’s faith has been increasing since last summer, albeit fairly modestly. However, among white evangelical voters and Republican voters, not surprisingly knowledge has increased more substantially.Currently, close to two-thirds of evangelical voters know that Romney is Mormon, an 8-point increase from last fall. Over the same period Romney’s favorability among white evangelical voters increased dramatically, from 40 percent to 67 percent.So, what we’re seeing is knowledge of Romney’s faith increase among the group that conventional wisdom says is most concerned by it while at the same time his favorable ratings spike.The spike in favorable ratings is most likely due to his winning the Republican nomination, but it’s interesting that increased knowledge does not seem to exert any kind of drag effect. [McCain in 2008?]
  • - Looking at the evangelical vote we find that Romney is doing quite well among evangelical voters. More than two-thirds of white evangelical voters say if the election were held today they would vote for Romney while just 19% would support Obama.- And among white evangelical voters who say that Romney’s religious beliefs are different from their own, the voting preferences of evangelical are nearly identical.
  • We have uncovered evidence that a significant minority of Americans would be uncomfortable with a Mormon President, but among evangelical voters the issue does not appear to threaten his support among this important constituency.What about in the general election? Are there concerns that voters have, that perhaps they do not want to share publicly?To answer this question we imbedded an randomized experiment in one of our surveys. This list experiment randomly assigns respondents to one of two groups. The control group is read a list of three statements and instructed to tell the interviewed how many of the statements bother them. They are told explicitly not to identify the offending statements, just the number. The treatment group is read the same list of three statements plus one additional statement: “A Mormon becoming president of the United States”By subtracting the mean number of statements selected we can determine just how many people are concerned about a Mormon becoming president. For instance, the average number of statements selected in group two (the treatment group) was 1.4 while the average number of statements in the control group was 0.98. Because the only difference between the two groups is that the treatment group was read one additional statement we know that the 42% of Americans are concerned about a Mormon president; 1.4-0.98.
  • If you remember we asked Americans directly to share whether they had any concerns about a Mormon president. This allowed us to compare whether there is any difference between what people tell us directly and what they tell us when they think their responses are not public. And what we see is that it really doesn’t make any difference for the most part.Among voters there is no difference in the concern that is exhibited directly through answering the question and indirectly through the experiment.None of the differences are in fact, significant, with one exception: white mainline Protestant voters.Only 30 percent of white mainline Protestant voters reported being concerned about the possibility of a Mormon President when asked directly, however, nearly twice that number reported concern about a Mormon President when they believed that their concerns were actually hidden.
  • - Americans are divided in their views about Muslims in American society, whether it’s views about religious expression or the compatibility of Islam and American values. However, what this divided opinion belies is a dramatic polarization in attitudes by religion, political party and generation.- Switching gears, we’re going to look at attitudes about Muslims and comfort with Muslims people, and religious practices in society.
  • - In general Americans tend to be divided in their comfort levels over various aspects of Muslim culture and religious expression in society.

AAPOR Presentation 2012 AAPOR Presentation 2012 Presentation Transcript

  • MORMON PRESIDENTS AND MOSQUES NEXTDOORAn Examination of American Attitudes TowardReligious Minorities in 2012 Daniel Cox, Public Director of Research at the Public Religion Research Religion Institute Research Institute
  • Data Sources • Public Religion Research Institute, PRRI/RNS Religious News Survey, May 2012 • Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, September 2011 • PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, December 2011 • PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, October 2011 • Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 • Public Religion Research Institute, PRRI/RNS Religious News Survey, July 2011 • Pew Research Center, Political and Media Survey, July 2011 • Pew Research Center, Religion & Public Life Survey, August 2009Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 2
  • MORMONS AND MUSLIMS IN CONTEXT Favorability of Religious Groups in the U.S. Knowledge about Beliefs of Mormonism and Islam Perceptions of Similarity or Difference with Mormons and MuslimsMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 3
  • Knowledge of the Religious Beliefs andPractices of Mormons and Muslims How Much Do You Know About... A lot A little Nothing at all60 57 555040 2930 2720 17 1410 0 The religious beliefs and practices of Muslims The religious beliefs and practices of Mormons Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 (N=2,450)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 4
  • Interaction with Muslims and Mormons Frequency of Conversations with Muslims and Mormons Once a day Occasionally Seldom Never 50 45 43 40 41 40 39 40 36 35 30 28 27 24 23 25 20 15 13 11 11 10 6 6 6 5 0 Muslim Mormon African American Hispanic Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 (N=2,450)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 5
  • Similarity/Difference of Religious Beliefs Do You Think the Muslim Religion and Do You Think the Mormon Your Own Religious Beliefs Are Similar Religion and Your Own Religious or Different? Beliefs Are Similar or Different? 3 Very similar 3 17 14 19 18 Somewhat similar Somewhat different 19 Very different 24 47 36 Dont know/Refused Source: Pew Research Center, 2009 Religion & Public Life Survey, August 2009 (N=4,013) Excludes the Unaffiliated and Muslims/MormonsMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 6
  • Feelings Toward Religious Groups in theU.S. Favorability of Religious Groups Among All Americans Favorable opinion Unfavorable opinion Cant rate/Refused 90 84 83 80 70 67 60 58 50 45 46 40 32 30 20 20 12 10 9 9 7 7 8 10 0 Atheists Muslims Mormons Catholics Jews Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 (N=2,450)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 7
  • Comfort with a Mormon & Muslim Servingas President How Comfortable Would You Be with a Muslim or a Mormon Serving as President of the U.S.? Comfortable Uncomfortable 70 63 60 52 50 44 40 33 30 20 10 0 A Mormon serving as President A Muslim serving as President Source: Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, September 2011 (N=1,505)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 8
  • MITT ROMNEY AND THE MORMON QUESTION Comfort with a Mormon President Knowledge about Romney’s Faith Views Among EvangelicalsMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 9
  • Comfort with a Mormon President byReligious Tradition How Comfortable Would You Be with a Mormon Serving as President of the U.S.? 70 Comfortable Uncomfortable 64 61 60 52 50 49 50 50 46 47 47 44 40 35 29 30 20 10 0 All Americans White Mainline Catholics Unaffiliated White Black Protestants Protestants Evangelicals Source: Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, September 2011 (N=1,505)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 10
  • Knowledge of Romney’s Religion Knowledge of Mitt Romneys Religious Beliefs % of voters that know Romney is a Mormon 70 65 60 51 52 50 43 40 30 20 10 0 All Voters Republican Voters Independent Voters Democratic Voters Source: Public Religion Research Institute, PRRI/RNS Religious News Survey, May 2012 (N=1,006)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 11
  • The GOP Base and Views of Mormons Views about Mormonism and the Religious Beliefs of Mormons Percentage of voters who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion All Voters 36% White Evangelical 49% Republican 39% Tea Party 31% Percentage of voters who say Mormons have different religious beliefs than their own All Voters 66% White Evangelical 68% Republican 61% Tea Party 50% Source: Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, September 2011 (N=1,505)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 12
  • Knowledge of Romney’s Faith andFavorability Increasing Concurrently Increased Knowledge of Romneys Faith and Favorability Among White Evangelical Voters Favorable view of Romney Know Romney is Mormon 80 70 67 60 55 63 50 44* 52 40 40 30 20 10 0 Jul-11 Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Feb-12 Mar-12 Apr-12 May-12 Source: Public Religion Research Institute, PRRI/RNS Religious News Survey, July 2012 (N=1,012); PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, October 2011 (N=1,019); PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, December 2011 (N=1,012); PRRI/RNS Religious News Survey, May 2012 (N=1,006) Note: July 2011 number is among white evangelical Protestants overall and not white evangelical Protestant votersMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 13
  • The White Evangelical Vote If the 2012 Presidential Election Were Held Today, Who Would You Vote For? Mitt Romney Barack Obama 80 70 68 67 60 50 40 30 22 19 20 10 0 All White Evangelical Voters White Evangelical voters who say Romneys religious beliefs are different from their own Source: Public Religion Research Institute, PRRI/RNS Religious News Survey, May 2012 (N=1,006)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 14
  • Measuring Hidden Concern about aMormon President Survey Experiment: How Many Statements Worry or Bother You? Control Treatment A A family member marrying a born-again Christian A B An atheist teaching elementary school in your community B C A Mosque being built near your home C A Mormon becoming president of the United States D 0.98 Mean number of statements selected 1.40 (Out of 3) (Out of 4) Source: Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, September 2011 (N=1,505)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 15
  • Measuring Hidden Concern about aMormon President Expression of Hidden Concern about a Mormon Becoming President among Voters Direct Measure of Indirect Measure of Hidden Concern Concern Concern % % % Pts. All Voters 42 42 0 White Evangelical 47 49 2 White Mainline 30 57 27 Unaffiliated 48 43 -5 Catholic 42 41 -1 Democrat 50 54 4 Independent 38 37 -1 Republican 36 30 -6 Conservative 39 42 3 Moderate 43 38 -5 Liberal 46 41 -5 Source: Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, September 2011 (N=1,505)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 16
  • MUSLIMS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY Challenges to Assimilation and Civic IntegrationMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 17
  • Challenges to Muslim Assimilation andAcceptance in the U.S. • 1) Value Incompatibility • 2) Cultural Encroachment • 3) American Foreign Policy; Geopolitics • 4) Islamic Extremism and TerrorismMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 18
  • 1) Islam at odds with American Values Islam at Odds with American Values and Way of Life Agree Disagree 60 54 52 50 47 48 43 40 40 30 20 10 0 General Public Millennials Seniors Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 (N=2,450)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 19
  • 2) Comfort with Muslims in Society Feeling of Comfort with Muslims in Society Comfortable Uncomfortable60 57 53 51 5150 48 46 45 4140302010 0 Muslim women wearing Mosque being built near Group of Muslim men Muslim teaching the Burqua your home praying at an airport elementary school Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 (N=2,450)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 20
  • 2) Perceptions that American Muslimswant to Establish Shari’a Law American Muslims ultimately want to establish Sharia law as the law of the land in the U.S. Disagree Agree Dont Know 9 30 61What It Means to Be American: Attitudes in an Increasingly Diverse America Ten Years After 9/11 21
  • 3. Perceptions of Muslims’ Views of theU.S. • In general do you think that people in Muslim countries have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of the United States? • 16% Favorable • 79% Unfavorable • 5% Don’t know (Vol.) • Do you think the unfavorable opinions that people in Muslim countries have about the U.S. are generally justified or not justified? • 24% Justified • 73% Not justified • 4% Don’t know (Vol.)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 22
  • 4) Support for Extremism Among U.S.Muslims Support for Extremism Among Muslim Americans Great deal Fair amount Not too much None at all 40 33 30 25 20 15 12 10 0 All Americans Source: Pew Research Center, Political and Media Survey, July 2011 (N=1,501)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 23
  • 4) Committing Acts of Violence: Christiansvs. Muslims The Double Standard Evaluating Violence Committed by Self-Identified Christians and Muslims Yes No Don’t know/Refused 90 83 80 70 60 50 48 44 40 30 20 13 9 10 4 0 Believe perpetrator really is Christian Believe perpetrator really is Muslim Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Pluralism, Immigration, Civic Integration Survey, August 2011 (N=2,450)Mormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 24
  • Conclusions? • The Mormon Question – There is evidence that Romney’s faith influenced voters, particularly evangelical voters in the primary election who strongly supported Santorum, but this also had a lot to do with other cultural factors as well (Massachusetts, Wealthy background etc.) – In the general election evangelicals will come home. » White mainline Protestants? • Muslims in American Society – Future trends? – Generation differences – New DataMormon Presidents and Mosques Next Door 25
  • MORMON PRESIDENTS AND MOSQUES NEXTDOORAn Examination of American Attitudes TowardReligious Minorities in 2012 Follow us Online:  www.facebook.com/publicreligion  www.twitter.com/publicreligion  www.publicreligion.org Daniel Cox, Public Director of Research at the Public Religion Research Religion Institute Research Institute