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Most Republicans support declaring the United States a Christian nation

Most Republicans say Christian nationalism is unconstitutional, but still support it

Our national survey included 2,091 participants, conducted from May 6 to 16, 2022, with a margin of error of +/- 2.14 percent.

We began by asking participants if they believed the Constitution would even allow the US government to declare the US a “Christian nation.” We found that 70 percent of Americans, including 57 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats, said the Constitution would not allow such a declaration. (In fact, the First Amendment says that Congress cannot establish or prohibit the practice of a religion.)

We keep asking, “Would you be for or against the United States officially declaring America a Christian nation?” The findings were surprising.

Overall, 62 percent of those surveyed said they opposed such a statement, including 83 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans. 61 percent of Republicans supported declaring the United States a Christian nation. In other words, even though more than half of Republicans previously said such a measure would be unconstitutional, most Republican voters would still support this statement.

Not surprisingly, much of the support for declaring the US a Christian nation comes from Republicans who identify as evangelical or born-again Christians: Seventy-eight percent of this group supports the measure compared to 48 percent. from other Republicans. Among Democrats, a slight majority of those who identified as evangelical or born-again Christian also supported such a statement (52 percent), compared to just 8 percent of other Democrats.

Younger generations, including younger Republicans, are less supportive of Christian nationalism

Previous investigation has shown that younger generations, millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012), are less likely to have religious affiliation and trust religious institutions. That is also consistent with the results of our Critical Issues Survey.

We found that members of younger generations are less likely than those of older generations to support the declaration of the US as a Christian nation. Only about a quarter of Millennial respondents (25 percent) and a third of Gen Z respondents (34 percent) favor this statement. By contrast, the majority of respondents from the two oldest generations: the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) and the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) support declaring the US a Christian nation ( 54 percent and 50 percent, respectively). ).

Within generations, partisanship also plays a role in shaping attitudes about Christian nationalism.

Majorities of Republicans across all age groups favor designating the US a Christian nation, but even more so in older generations. 71 percent of Silent Generation Republicans and 72 percent of Republican baby boomers would like to see the United States officially declared a Christian nation, compared with 33 percent of Silent Generation Democrats and 20 percent of Democratic baby boomers. Among younger generations, we see that 51% of millennial Republicans and 51% of Gen Z Republicans want the US to be declared a Christian nation, compared to 10% of millennial Democrats and the 7% of Gen Z Democrats.

Along with age, race can also play a role when it comes to sympathizing with Christian nationalism.

Our survey found that white grievance is highly correlated with support for a Christian nation. White respondents who say members of their race have faced more discrimination than others are more likely to embrace a Christian America. About 59 percent of all Americans who say white people have been discriminated against much more in the last five years are in favor of declaring the US a Christian nation, compared to 38 percent of all Americans . White Republicans who said whites have been discriminated against the most also favored a Christian nation (65 percent) slightly more than all Republicans (63 percent).

The growing threat to American democracy was made abundantly clear during the January 6 insurrection, which featured, not coincidentally, significant Christian nationalist imagery. In fact, as our survey shows, a non-trivial number of Americans want the US to become a Christian nation, even if they acknowledge that the Constitution prohibits such a designation. Leading Republican politicians have seized on this sentiment and are campaigning openly with a message of Christian nationalism.

Our poll results demonstrate why this message may be resonating, at least among the most ardent, religious and older base of the Republican Party. However, this strategy can be short-sighted. As our findings demonstrate, there is strong opposition to declaring the US a Christian nation among younger Americans, and even among younger Republicans. For that reason, the GOP may want to tread carefully or risk alienating future generations.

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