Abstract Argument (v. 5)

This series presents an abstract from a journal article as a proposition for debate. Knowledge of the article itself is not assumed and is not required to participate in the discussion. Any points within the following abstract are open for consideration:

Research on the political attitudes of conservative Protestants has yielded inconsistent results. We know that conservative Protestants (CPs) tend to be more socially conservative than members of other religious groups and have tended to vote Republican in recent years, but we are less certain of their attitudes toward the size and role of government in matters unrelated to religion. Despite theoretical expectations and qualitative research supporting a link between conservative Protestantism and conservative attitudes about the size and role of government, quantitative work has failed to find a consistent relationship. The present study interprets conservative Protestant issue preferences in the context of research on non-attitudes, arguing that we should not expect ideological constraint among the less educated segment of the population. However, among better educated members of the population, we should expect to find ideologically consistent attitudes. Results from the General Social Survey suggest that better-educated evangelical Protestants are consistently more economically conservative than other Protestants. Among Protestants with lower levels of education, there is no consistent relationship between conservative Protestantism and economic policy preferences. Since the better educated are disproportionately politically active, politicians may be especially likely to pay attention to their interests. This may help to explain why the Republican coalition between social and economic conservatives has endured for several decades and shows no signs of abating.

From: The elusive link between conservative Protestantism and conservative economics, Jacob Felson and Heather Kindella, Social Science Research
Volume 36, Issue 2, June 2007, Pages 673-687.
(HT: Christianity Today)

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Joe Carter

Joe Carter founded Evangelical Outpost in 2005. He is the web editor for First Things and an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. A fifteen-year Marine Corps veteran, he previously served as the managing editor for the online magazine Culture11 and The East Texas Tribune. Joe has also served as the Director of Research and Rapid Response for the Mike Huckabee for President campaign and as a director of communications for both the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and Family Research Council. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicaton.