June 7, 2012

Americans’ Religious Values

The latest Pew Research Center American Values study finds that the United States continues to be a highly religious nation. Two-thirds of the public (67%) agrees with each of a series of three religious statements, affirming that prayer is an important part of their daily life, that “we will all be called before God at the Judgment Day” and that they never doubt the existence of God. When the first values study was conducted in 1987, a virtually identical number (68%) agreed with all three of these statements.

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But partisan gaps in religious values have arisen over the past 25 years. In 1987, for example, 91% of Republicans said they never doubt the existence of God, as did 88% of Democrats and 86% of independents. Today, 92% of Republicans continue to say they never doubt God’s existence, but the numbers of Democrats and independents saying this have fallen (to 77% among Democrats and 76% among independents).

The American Values survey was conducted April 4-15 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The values project, which began in 1987 and has been updated 14 times since then, tracks a wide range of the public’s fundamental beliefs. The completereport, which includes an analysis of trends in religious and social values, is available on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press’ website.