Barnabas Institute Research
Research has been an important component of the Barnabas Institute’s work. Although the highest priority of the Institute is to change lives, in its research initiatives the emphasis is on finding out how to help Christians make those changes.
Does Your Candidate’s Faith Count?
Do Americans consider a candidate’s faith when they enter the presidential election poll booth? When two thousand Americans were asked “Is it appropriate to consider the religious beliefs of candidates in deciding for whom to vote?” over a third of those surveyed felt religious or spiritual beliefs were important and should be considered.
These findings were bolstered by a trend that the Barnabas Institute has been following. On the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, 40% of Americans said they were more concerned with the religious and spiritual side of their lives. A later survey, almost 3 years after the event, revealed that 32% of the population credited the event with a refocusing of their religious and spiritual priorities.
This religious and spiritual sensitivity has had a measurable effect on today’s politics. Both presidential candidates, for example, early in the race, declared themselves “born again” Christians.
Even those who declared themselves to be “not active in any faith now” had their concerns. A quarter of that group felt faith should be part of their voting consideration.
A majority of Protestants, 56%, felt faith should be considered in candidate selection. Interestingly, a much smaller percentage of Catholics, 31%, felt religion should be considered.
Previous studies by other sources pointed out that church attendance spiked following the 9/11 attacks but the attendance numbers were not sustained. The number of persons attending religious services quickly returned to the same level as prior to the attacks.
The Barnabas Institute’s studies, however, find that more subtle changes have taken place in American’s religious landscape as measured by other than church attendance. In both Barnabas Institute surveys, one taken at the anniversary of the attacks and a more recent survey, 92% of the respondents with religious concerns stated, “Trying harder to live as my faith requires” as the response towards this increased concern.
The Barnabas Institute staff concluded their survey suggested sustained religious concerns were prevalent at the anniversary of the attacks and also almost three years later. Thirty two percent (32%) of the US adult population indicated they have continued to think more about the religious or spiritual side of life compared to 40% of respondents at the anniversary of the attacks.
The Institute noted that Republican Party has been editorially branded the party of the “religious right.” In this survey when respondents were asked party affiliation and “Are you actively involved in some faith now?” a close percentage of Democrats, 64%, and of Republicans, 69%, responded affirmatively. In other words both the Republican and Democratic parties have large faith constituencies.
Other Barnabas Institute Research
Poll: Millions of Americans Thinking More About the Spiritual Side
The unexpectedness and finality of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 had a tremendous impact on the spirituality of Americans. In a Barnabas Institute survey of 3,000 American adults,more than 40% of respondents said they were thinking more about the religious or spiritual side of their lives since 9/11.
Future Barnabas Institute Research
Other areas of research that are currently under way or under consideration include the following: Identify factors that enable people to live as effective Christians and to inspire and encourage other Christians.