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Guth, Kellstedt, Smidt, and Green: Religious mobilization in the 2004 presidential election

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Guth, Kellstedt, Smidt, and Green. 2005. Religious mobilization in the 2004 presidential election. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the APSA, September 1-4, 2005..

Main Point

It's not just a Protestant/Catholic or Religious/Nonreligious divide. You need to sort people properly based not only on Evangelical vs Mainline Protestant and Catholic, but also based on whether they belong to a Modernist, Traditionalist, or Centrist faction of those traditions.

When classified properly, religion has strong predictive power.

Two ways of looking at religion

  • Ethnoreligious perspective: stresses religious identity and long-term conflicts among these traditions
  • Religious restructuring perspective: emphasizes divisions within religious traditions (traditionalists, modernists, and centrists; e.g. Modernist ecumenical churches vs Traditionalist evangelicals)

The major religious traditions have been polarized into liberal and conservative factions (based on theological, social, and cultural conflicts) Three ways of differing:

  • Behavior: Traditionalists attend services more frequently
  • Belief: Whether you think moral authority is "supernatural or conventional in origin"
  • Movement affiliations:

Findings

  • Traditionalists are far more conservative than Modernists, with Centrists in the middle (but still conservative). This is true for Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Catholic factions of Traditionalists, Modernists, and Centrists.
  • You need to sort people into their proper religious classifications to see these effects (see Table 2).