Pew: More Americans See 'Too Much' Religious Talk In Politics

Mar 21, 2012
Originally published on March 22, 2012 11:59 am

According to a new survey, 38 percent of Americans say there is too much "expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders."

Thirty percent say there is too little and 25 percent say there's just the right amount.

That may not seem significant, but The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life says that the number of Americans who say there is "too much" religious talk from politicians" has been growing and is at its highest point since Pew started asking the question in 2001.

Of course, this poll comes at a time when that intersection has been repeatedly highlighted during the Republican primary presidential campaign. Rick Santorum, for example, has made headlines for saying he doesn't "believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute." Or more recently, Santorum disavowed statements made at a church service he attended. A pastor suggested that non-Christians "get out" of the country.

As you'll see in this graph, the sentiment that there is too much religion in politics cuts across the political spectrum:

Pew explains:

"The number of Republicans expressing unease with the amount of politicians' religious talk also has increased (from 8% in 2001 to 24% currently). But Republicans have consistently been less inclined than either Democrats or independents to say there has been too much religious talk from political leaders.

"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."

Pew says the survey points to "public uneasiness with the mixing of religion in politics."

Update on March 22 at 1:55 p.m. ET. The Graph:

We noticed today that we had not added the graph we promised. We're terribly sorry! But we've gone ahead and added it.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.