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Figuring Faith | How Values, Demographics, and the Economy Helped Shape the Election

The day after the 2012 election, Dr. Robert P. Jones examines the role that values, demographics, and the economy played in American voters’ decision to elect President Barack Obama to a second term in office. Dr. Jones notes that while the economy was front and center, religion and values played an important supporting role, especially in state ballot initiatives on same-sex marriage and several key Senate races:

There is…evidence that publicly expressing extreme views about abortion in cases of rape hurt Senate candidates Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, both of whom lost last night, and underperformed among white evangelical Protestants, a key Republican constituency. In Missouri, Akin trailed Romney’s support among white evangelicals by 20 points (57 percent vs. 77 percent). In Indiana, Mourdock lagged behind Romney among white evangelicals by 11 points (69 percent vs. 80 percent). As I noted in a pre-election column, only about one-quarter (24 percent) of white evangelical Protestants agree that abortion should be illegal in all cases, and politicians who stake out positions in this rarified territory can expect to lose support.

To read the full column, head to Figuring Faith, Dr. Jones’ blog at the Washington Post.

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Public Religion Research Institute

The Public Religion Research Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to work at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.

Our mission is to help journalists, opinion leaders, scholars, clergy, and the general public better understand debates on public policy issues and the role of religion in American public life by conducting high quality public opinion surveys and qualitative research. As a research organization, we do not take positions on, nor do we advocate for, particular policies. As members of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the American Political Science Association (APSA), and the American Academy of Religion (AAR), our research team follows the highest academic research standards. PRRI is also a supporting organization of the Transparency Initiative at AAPOR.

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