- The Washington Times - Friday, June 25, 2004

America’s faith is alive and well, according to a new Gallup poll that also found that President Bush is favored by the faithful over Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry.

The survey found that six out of 10 Americans said religion is “very important” to them in daily life — a steadfast figure that has remained virtually unchanged in the past decade, according to Gallup. Twenty-six percent said religion was “fairly” important, while just 15 percent said it didn’t matter.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted June 3 to June 6 and released yesterday.

Faith is also a practical concern: 61 percent said religion can solve “all or most of today’s problems,” while just 24 percent said faith was “old- fashioned and out of date.”

Religious preferences also colored politics.

Among all Protestants in the survey, 56 percent said they would vote for Mr. Bush and 39 percent for Mr. Kerry. But the fervent favored the president.

Out of those who had attended services in the last week, 66 percent would vote for Mr. Bush and 31 percent for Mr. Kerry. Among those who deemed religion “very important,” the numbers were 63 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

Forty-nine percent of all Catholic respondents said they would vote for the Massachusetts senator, while 42 percent said they’d vote for Mr. Bush. The president had an edge among the devout, however.

Among Catholics who had attended church in the past week, 47 percent favored Mr. Bush and 45 percent Mr. Kerry. Among Catholics who said religion was “very important,” 46 percent favored Mr. Bush and 45 percent Mr. Kerry.

As a practicing Catholic, Mr. Kerry’s support of abortion rights and stem-cell research has irked some of his fellow Catholics and prompted church leaders to adopt a statement last week warning Catholic politicians they were “cooperating in evil” if they favored such things. They left the decision to give those politicians Communion up to the local bishops.

But Washington Archbishop Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick warned the group that denying Communion to errant lawmakers could make the sacrament a “partisan political battleground.”

Meanwhile, Gallup found that if independent Ralph Nader is factored in, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are basically tied among Catholics, with 43 percent favoring Mr. Kerry and 42 percent Mr. Bush. Nine percent said they would vote for Mr. Nader.

“Similar patterns are found when Nader is included on the [Protestant] ballot with Bush and Kerry,” the survey stated.

Gallup analyst Joseph Carroll called the United States “a predominantly Christian nation.”

Overall, 64 percent belong to a church or synagogue. Forty-three percent have attended services in the past seven days.

Among the 1,000 respondents, 48 percent said they were Protestants.

In this group, 11 percent were Baptist, 9 percent Methodist, 6 percent Southern Baptist, 5 percent Lutheran, 3 percent Presbyterian, 2 percent Pentecostal, 2 percent Church of Christ and 2 percent Episcopalian.

Of the rest of the respondents, 25 percent were Catholics, 11 percent were “Christian, non-specific,” 3 percent were Jewish, 1 percent Mormon, 1 percent Orthodox, 7 percent had “no religion” and 4 percent were “other,” or did not designate a religion.

The survey has a three point margin error.

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