08/30/2005 - Both major political parties have a problem with their approach toward religion, in the eyes of many Americans. More than four-in-ten say that liberals who are not religious have too much control over the Democratic Party, while an almost identical percentage says that religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party.
The public also has distinctly different perceptions of both parties when it comes to dealing with religion and personal freedoms. By a wide margin – 51% to 28% – the Republican Party is seen as most concerned with protecting religious values. By a nearly identical margin (52%-30%), the Democratic Party is perceived as most concerned with protecting the freedom of citizens to make personal choices.
Yet the Democrats’ strength in this area is overshadowed by a sharp erosion in the number of Americans who believe the party is friendly toward religion. Only about three-in-ten (29%) see the Democrats as friendly toward religion, down from 40% last August. Meanwhile, a solid majority (55%) continues to view the Republicans as friendly toward religion.
However, independents are more critical of the influence of religious conservatives on the Republican Party than they are of the influence of secular liberals on the Democratic Party. Most independents (54%) think religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party, while fewer, 43%, think secular liberals have too much sway on the Democratic Party.
Read the complete poll results Public Divided on Origins of Life; Religion A Strength And Weakness For Both Parties on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.