Religious Right More Powerful in State GOP Affiliates, Study Says. (People & Events)

Church & State, June 2002 | Go to article overview

Religious Right More Powerful in State GOP Affiliates, Study Says. (People & Events)


A new survey of Republican Party state affiliates shows that the Religious Right is an increasingly powerful force at the grassroots level.

The study appears in the February edition of Campaigns & Elections magazine. It was conducted by Kimberly H. Conger, a graduate teaching assistant at the Department of Political Science, Ohio State University, and John C. Green, a professor of political science at the University of Akron and a longtime researcher of the Religious Right.

Conger and Green surveyed the Religious Right's influence in the Republican Party in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by interviewing 395 political activists, journalists and academics. Categorizing the Religious Right's influence as "weak," "moderate" or "strong," the two found that the Religious Right holds a strong position in 18 state GOP affiliates, a moderate position in 26 and a weak position in seven.

The Religious Right was strongest in Southern states.

"In 2000, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia were perceived to be in the strong category, unchanged from 1994," Conger and Green wrote. "In addition, Kentucky remained in the moderate category.... The states of Arkansas and Mississippi shifted from the moderate to strong category, and the state of Tennessee moved from weak to strong--a pattern that also held for West Virginia, a culturally conservative Border state."

The two found that four Southern states--Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina--shifted from strong to moderate. In the Midwest, Iowa and Minnesota remained in the strong category, while Missouri and South Dakota moved from weak to strong; Michigan moved from moderate to strong and Illinois and North Dakota moved from weak to moderate. …

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