Presidential races

In reversal from 2010, poll finds too much ‘religious talk’ by politicians

Voters are increasingly tired of “religious talk” from politicians, a poll from Pew Research found.

According to the survey, 38 percent said there is “too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders,” while 30 percent said there is too little.

{mosads}Those numbers are essentially inverted from Pew’s 2010 findings, when 37 percent said there was too little versus 29 percent who said there was too much.

The GOP primary has reignited the battle over social and religious issues between the two parties.

Republicans have charged that President Obama’s policies interfere with religious liberty, and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry accused Obama of waging a “war on religion.”

And Conservative groups and the Catholic Church are furious with the administration’s attempt to exempt most faith-affiliated organizations, such as Catholic hospitals, from a provision that requires employers to cover birth control without out-of-pocket costs to employees.

The Obama administration shifted its position after the resulting controversy, and the Pew poll shows that the president has so far weathered the firestorm — a plurality, 39 percent, say Obama is friendly to religion, versus 32 percent who say he is not.

Supporters of the two GOP front-runners differ in their opinions on religion in politics.

A majority of Rick Santorum supporters, 55 percent, say there is not enough religious expression by political leaders, while only 33 percent of Mitt Romney supporters say the same.

But Santorum’s unapologetic language on religion and values might have hurt his campaign before critical primaries in Michigan and Ohio. Santorum led in both states before his comment that Obama has a “phony theology” on the environment took center stage. Santorum ended up losing both primaries by a narrow margin.

The poll also found that religious issues could hurt Republicans with independents in the general election. Fifty-seven percent said religious conservatives have more influence over the GOP than secular liberals have over the Democratic Party, while only 42 percent said that was not the case.


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