Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Danger of Generalizations

I’ve been guilty of making generalizations about those who share my Mormon religious heritage.  They are not all conservative or even all Republican, nor have they ever been.  It can just seem like that because like Tar Heel fans, those who are just make it an issue (smile from Duke fan.)

According to a survey of members of various religious traditions, while half of all Mormons are Republican by party affiliation, nearly 30% are Independents with 8% not leaning toward either party.  Some 27% are moderates and 10% are liberals.

But it isn’t just with ideology or party affiliation that the generalizations break down.

The majority of Mormons (55%) believe there should be stricter environmental laws and regulations and that they are worth the cost.  Only a third oppose environmental protections, more than the average for other religion traditions.

A small number of conservatives, especially lawmakers, appear to obscure these distinctions by attempting to project homogeneity or out-shout the diversity of opinions within groups with which they affiliate.

This seems particularly true in states where the Tea Party holds sway or at least those who hijacked that movement.

A quarter of Mormons are accepting of individuals who are LBGT and a similar proportion support pro-choice in all or most instances.  Four of ten believe government is too involved in issues of morality.

A similar proportion believes we should concentrate on problems here at home rather than abroad.  More than a third believe we need bigger government and more services.

More than three-quarters of Mormons in the U.S. live in the West with the next highest percentage in the South.  Nearly 30% are unmarried, while more than half have no children, although the percentage with four or more is three times the national average.

Different than the impression taken by many from the recent political campaigns, nearly half of Mormons have incomes of less than $49,999 and more than a quarter make less than $30,000.  Nearly 40% have a high school education or less which is less than the national average for other religious traditions while the percentage with college or post-graduate degrees is at the average for other religions.

Most people would have guess wrong at these percentages.  I know I certainly would have.  To see the views among those of your religious tradition or heritage, click on this link and then on the “select a tradition” dropdown.

No comments: