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Religion and Political Realignment in the Rocky Mountain States
John Kevin Olson and Ann C. Beck
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 1990), pp. 198-209
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387428
Page Count: 12
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Unlike previous research on religion and political preference, this study utilized county-level data to analyze whether religious affiliation and church membership help explain why some communities have abandoned the Democratic for the Republican Party. We hypothesized that religion, independent of socioeconomic, demographic, and party identification forces, exerts an independent effect on average Republican voting in general elections for three races: presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial. In particular, due to the changing nature of issues addressed in federal races (for president and senator), we expected that counties with higher levels of conservative Protestant members would experience "realignment" in the federal races between the 1950s and 1980s, while those communities with higher proportions of Roman Catholics would not. Through the use of multiple regression techniques, we found that conservative Protestantism in the 1980s, in contrast to the past, was positively associated with Republican electoral strength across all three races, even when controlling for other traditional explanatory factors. For counties with higher levels of Roman Catholics, we found that religion exerted an independent influence, but only for selected races.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion © 1990 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion