The Intersection of Religion and Politics: A Two-Way Street

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Principal investigator:

Michele Margolis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Email: margolis@mit.edu

Homepage: http://www.michelemargolis.com/


Sample size: 1500

Field period: 2/13/2012-07/23/2012

Hypotheses
Research Question: Does the close and visible linkage between the Republican Party and religious groups and values influence partisans' reported levels of religiosity?
H1: The close link between the Republican Party and religious groups will encourage Republicans to more closely identify with organized religion.
H2: The close link between the Republican Party and religious groups will encourage Democrats to identify with organized religion to a lesser extent.
H3: The heterogenous partisan results should be most pronounced among respondents currently raising children, as they have solidified partisan identities while their religious identities are still in flux.

Experimental Manipulations
Treatment condition receives a newspaper article about the Faith and Freedom coalition.

Outcomes
Self-reported religious identification, church attendance, and religiosity.

Summary of Results
Republicans who receive the experimental treatment report being more religious than Republicans in the control condition, while Democrats who receive the experimental treatment report being less religious than Democrats in the control condition.
Finally, these heterogenous results are most pronounced among respondents with children living at home, which is predicted by my life cycle hypothesis relating religion and politics together.