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Poll: Conservative states are most religious

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–States with the highest percentage of self-identifying political conservatives are also more likely to have a higher percentage of citizens who say religion is important to them, according to an analysis of two Gallup surveys.

Additionally, the most politically liberal states are least likely to be religious.

Gallup released results of a poll Aug. 2 showing Wyoming and Mississippi as tied for first in having the highest percentage of self-identifying political conservatives (53 percent). They are followed by Utah (51 percent), South Dakota (50 percent), Alabama and North Dakota (tied at 49 percent) and Idaho (48 percent). Rounding out the top 10 are four states tied at 46 percent: South Carolina, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Louisiana.

Among those, five — Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Louisiana — were in the Top 10 of Gallup’s January 2009 survey of the most religious states in America. In fact, of the 11 most conservative states, only Idaho and Wyoming are not in the Top 20 of the most religious states.

The highest percentage of self-identifying liberals was found largely in the Northeast, where Rhode Island was first (32 percent), followed by Connecticut and Vermont (tied at 29 percent), Massachusetts (28 percent), Colorado and New York (tied at 27 percent), Oregon (26 percent), Washington and New Jersey (tied at 25 percent), and New Hampshire and Maryland (tied at 24 percent).

Among that group, seven — Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and New Hampshire — were listed in the Top 10 of Gallup’s least religious states. Maryland was the only state on the liberal top 10 list not to crack the least religious top 20. (It was 27th.)

The poll released in January 2009 asked those interviewed, “Is religion an important part of your daily life?” It was based on 350,000 interviews from 2008.

The survey released Aug. 2 was based on interviews with roughly 90,000 adults during the first half of this year. People were asked if they identified themselves as politically conservative, moderate or liberal.

Not surprisingly, the most conservative states were in the South and much of the West, while the most liberal states were in the Northeast and the West Coast.
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. Read the newest Gallup survey at http://bit.ly/9KtMrW. Read the January 2009 religion survey at http://bit.ly/dwhOFU.

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  • Michael Foust