Young Voters Largely Favorable Toward Christianity, Study Finds

Millenials Also Find Abortion 'Morally Wrong,' But Open to Gay Marriage

Although college-aged voters have largely favorable views of Christianity, a majority of them find the faith to be "anti-gay" and "judgmental," according to a joint study by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

The report, titled "A Generation in Transition: Religion, Values, and Politics among College-­Age Millennials," which surveyed more than 2,000 18-24 year-olds, found that approximately three-quarters, or 76 percent of respondents, felt that Christianity has good values and principles. However, 65 percent also said that they found it to be "anti-gay," and almost the same number (62 percent) described it as "judgmental" on certain social issues.

About one-fourth, or 25 percent of respondents, said they had no religious affiliation, with the majority of the remaining 75 percent identifying themselves as Christians – Catholics were the largest group at 20 percent. A statistic to note is that all Christian denominations experienced a net loss when comparing the religion voters were raised in and the religion they identify with currently – but the unaffiliated recorded a significant net gain at 13.6 points.

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Millennial voters were somewhat split on the issues of homosexual marriage and abortion. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of respondents found abortion to be morally wrong, but only 37 percent supported preserving the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Neither President Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential candidate, enjoyed a majority of support from the college-aged respondents, although Obama received a more favorable opinion (48 percent said they would like to see him win the election, while only 34 percent sided with Mitt Romney.)

"Both the Romney and Obama campaigns have their work cut out for them to reach college-age Millennial voters," said Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute. "Obama enjoys significant favorability and excitement advantages over Romney, but his support among younger voters today is substantially lower than among younger voters four years ago. Romney's largest challenge is that he inspires considerably less excitement than Obama or other Republican candidates."

Finally, the most important issue that young voters cared about in the survey was jobs and unemployment – 76 percent identified it as being "critically important" to their lives. What is more, 69 percent demanded that the growing gap between the rich and poor in America be addressed by the government. However, the "Occupy Wall Street" movement experienced a loss of support, as only 44 percent of respondents shared that they had a favorable view of the movement that sought to affect national discourse on the economy.

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