Young Evangelicals Disagree With Their Political Party on Range of Issues, Study Suggests

A particular set of young evangelical Christians are mostly Republican, but both Republicans and Democrats in the sample feel that their preferred political party does not represent them well on certain issues, according to a pilot study sponsored by Sojourners, a liberal evangelical advocacy organization.

The sample was 54 percent Republican and 26 percent Democratic. Twenty percent had no preference among the two major political parties.

When asked how close they were to their political party on a range of issues, abortion had the greatest disparity. Seventy-five percent of Republicans, the highest of any issue, said they were close to their party, while only 10 percent of Democrats, the lowest of any issue, said they were close to their party on the issue.

On the issue of international poverty, on the other hand, a higher proportion of Democrats (41 percent) said they were close to their party on the issue than Republicans (23 percent) said they were close to their party on the issue. Domestic poverty had similar results: 41 percent of Democrats agree with their party and 29 percent of Republicans agree with their party.

The study is not a random sample of young evangelicals in America. Rather, the study solicited respondents from the Facebook pages of Campus Crusade for Christ, Young Life, The Navigators and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. The online survey was conducted through May and June. With a population of 600,000 Facebook "likes," the study obtained a sample of 161, which yields a plus or minus eight percentage point margin of error.

The demographics of the sample indicate that it represents a slice of young evangelical Christians that are mostly male (63 percent) and college educated (95 percent). Only those under age 35 were included in the sample and the average age was 24.

As with most Americans, the top political issues among the sample were issues dealing with the economy and the federal budget. When asked to rank issues in order of importance, 61 percent had economic issues and the same number had budget issues, in their top two issues of importance.

After those, social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, had the third highest proportion of respondents (42 percent) ranking them in the top two issues of importance.

The study also suggests that young evangelical Democrats are more likely than young evangelical Republicans to believe that the position of their party conflicts with their faith.

When asked, "Do your faith convictions ever conflict with positions taken by the party you usually support?" Democrats were more likely to answer "frequently" (29 percent) or "sometimes" (54 percent) than Republicans. Among Republicans, 17 percent answered "frequently" and 48 percent answered "sometimes."

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