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The Christian Right and the 1980 Presidential Election

Stephen D. Johnson and Joseph B. Tamney
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun., 1982), pp. 123-131
DOI: 10.2307/1385498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1385498
Page Count: 9
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The Christian Right and the 1980 Presidential Election
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Abstract

This paper examines the role of the Christian Right in the 1980 presidential election. Throughout the campaign the media reported that this movement was a major political development, and its members would be an important source of votes for Ronald Reagan. However, interviews with residents of "Middletown," who voted for the major presidential candidates in almost the same proportions as was the case nationwide, revealed that disproportionate support for Reagan did not come from the Christian Right but from conservatives of high education (traditional Republicans) and from people who considered controlling inflation to be the most important issue in the election. A discussion of why religion, and religious fundamentalism in particular, does not play a significant role in American politics is then presented.

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