Bibles, Beliefs, Crosses, And Candidates: The Effects Of Religious Identity On Political Attitudes

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Connor Lloyd Hughes (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Adam Newmark

Abstract: Religious identity is an understudied yet important component of religious behavior. Through this thesis, I consider two components: how does religion affect people’s judgments on political attitudes and how a political candidate’s religious identity impacts people’s evaluations. For my first study, I argue that the Bible serves as a conservative affective cue that will make respondents more likely to support more conservative federal spending policies. Through the use of a novel survey experiment, I find no evidence that the Bible impacts Christians’ stances on federal spending policy. For my second study, I analyze Mason’s (2018b) conception of religion as a causal factor in negative affective evaluations. Through a survey experiment, I find that Christians tend to evaluate Christian candidates less harshly than non-Christian candidates across party lines, that increased religiosity actually increases the affective evaluation gap between partisans on hypothetical candidates, and that Christian and Evangelical Christian identity do not appear to play a role in affective evaluations of candidates. Overall, through the combinations of these studies, I discover the limits of the impacts of religious identity in the political realm, ultimately resulting in a call for future research on the role of politics in religion.

Additional Information

Hughes, C. (2021). Bibles, Beliefs, Crosses, And Candidates: The Effects Of Religious Identity On Political Attitudes. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2021
Political behavior, Affective polarization, Religion and politics, Public opinion

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