Last updated on: 3/12/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

Opinion Polls/Surveys

1996 – July 19, 2006

The following data are presented to offer readers a comprehensive understanding of American feelings about the inclusion of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and other government documents, and, more generally, both American and International viewpoints on the role of religion in government.
I. Polls related to “Under God”

  1. FOX News: Nov. 29-30, 2005
  2. FOX News: Sep. 27-28, 2005
  3. SurveyUSA: Sep. 14, 2005
  4. Associated Press – Ipsos North America: Mar. 19-21, 2004
  5. First Amendment Center/American Journalism Review: June 3-15, 2003
  6. ABC News/Washington Post: June 26-30, 2002
  7. Newsweek: June 27-28, 2002
II. Polls related to Religion in Government

  1. Pew Research Center: July 6-19, 2006
  2. CBS News: April 6-9, 2006
  3. Gallup: Aug. 8-11, 2005
  4. Bliss Institute: Mar.-May 2004
  5. International Social Survey Program: 1996, 1998
I. “Under God” PollsA. Fox News: Nov. 29-30, 2005

  • Subjects: 900 registered voters nationwide
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
I.A.1. “Do you believe the phrase ‘under God’ should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance or should it be removed?”

    • Should Remain: 90%
    • Should Be Removed: 7%
    • Unsure: 3%

(Source: Fox News , Nov. 29-30, 2005)


B. Fox News: Sep. 27-28, 2005

  • Subjects: 900 registered voters nationwide
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
I.B.1. “As you may have heard, a federal district judge has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and cannot be recited in public schools because it contains the phrase ‘under God.’ Do you agree or disagree with the judge’s decision that the Pledge is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion?”

  • Agree: 11%
  • Disagree: 87%
  • Unsure: 2%

Margin of Error: +/- 3%

(Source: Fox News , Sep. 27-28, 2005)

C. SurveyUSA: Sept 14, 2005

  • Subjects: Information not available
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
I.C.1. “Which of the following 3 statements do you most agree with:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance is OK as written.
  • The Pledge of Allegiance would be OK ONLY IF the words “under god” were removed.
  • The Pledge of Allegiance is not OK.”
Demographic
OK As Written %
OK If God Removed %
Not OK %
Not Sure %
Total
90
6
2
1
Male
87
8
3
1
Female
92
5
1
1
Aged 18-34
87
7
3
2
Aged 35-54
92
5
2
1
Aged 55+
90
7
2
1
White
90
7
2
1
Black
92
3
2
3
Hispanic
93
1
4
2
Republican
97
3
0
0
Democrat
89
8
2
1
Independent
84
10
5
1
Conservative
97
1
1
0
Moderate
89
8
1
2
Liberal
81
13
6
0
(Source: SurveyUSA , Sep. 14, 2005)

D. Associated Press – Ipsos North America: Mar. 19-21, 2004
  • Subjects: 1,001 adults
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
I.D.1. “Do you think the phrase under God….”

  • “Should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance”: 87%
  • “Should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance”: 12%
  • “Not sure”: 1%
(Source: Associated Press Ipsos North America , Mar. 19-21, 2004)

E. First Amendment Center and American Journalism Review: June 3-15, 2003

  • Subjects: 1,000 Americans
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3.1%
“I.E.1. Many public schools require teachers to lead students in recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the phrase ‘one nation under God,’ although students are generally permitted to opt out of reciting the pledge if they so choose. In your opinion, does that school practice violate the constitutional principle of separation of church and state?”

  • Yes, it violates the constitutional principle: 26%
  • No, it does not: 68%
  • Don’t know/refused to answer: 5%
I.E.2. “When you say or hear the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the phrase ‘one nation under God,’ do you think of that phrase as primarily a religious statement, or as primarily a statement related to the American political tradition?”

  • Primarily a religious statement: 18%
  • Primarily a statement related to the American political tradition: 73%
  • Both (volunteered): 5%
  • Neither (volunteered): 1%
  • Don’t know/refused to answer: 2%
(Source: First Amendment Center and American Journalism Review , June 3-15, 2003)

F. ABC News/Washington Post: June 26-30, 2002

  • Subjects: 1,024 Americans
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
I.F.1. “The Pledge of Allegiance says the United States is one nation ‘under God.’ A federal court in California has ruled that the Pledge cannot be recited in public schools because this phrase violates the constitutional separation of church and state. Do you support or oppose this court ruling?”

  • Support: 14%
  • Oppose: 84%
  • No opinion: 2%
I.F.2. “Do you think the phrase ‘under God’ [rotate:] should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance OR should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?”

  • Should remain: 89%
  • Should be removed: 10%
  • No opinion: 1%
(Source: ABC News and Washington Post , June 26-30, 2002)

G. Newsweek: June 27-28, 2002

  • Subjects: 1,000 adults
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
I.G.1 “As you may know, a federal appeals court ruled this week that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional and cannot be recited in schools because the phrase ‘under God’ violates the separation of church and state. Do you think the phrase ‘under God’ should or should NOT be part of the Pledge of Allegiance?”

  • Should: 87%
  • Should not: 9%
  • Don’t know: 4%
I.G.2. “Thinking about the issue of separation of church and state in this country today, in general, do you think the government should avoid promoting religion in any way, or not?”

  • Should avoid: 36%
  • Should not: 54%
  • Don’t know: 10%
I.G.3. “When our government leaders publicly express their faith in God, on balance, do you think it’s good for the country, bad for the country, or doesn’t have much effect either way?”

  • Good for country: 60%
  • Bad for country: 4%
  • Not much effect: 33%
  • Don’t know: 3%
I.G.4. “Which ONE of the following two statements comes closer to your view? It should be government policy to eliminate all references to God and religious belief in schools, government buildings and other public settings. These references should be allowed in public provided they don’t mention a SPECIFIC religion.”

  • Eliminate all references: 12%
  • Don’t mention specific religion: 84%
  • Don’t know: 4%
I.G.5. “Which ONE of the following three statements comes closer to your view? The United States is a Christian nation. The United States is a Biblical nation, defined by the Judeo-Christian tradition. The United States is a secular nation in which religious belief, or lack of it, isn’t a defining characteristic.”

  • A Christian nation: 29%
  • A Biblical nation: 16%
  • A secular nation: 45%
  • Don’t know: 10%
(Source: Newsweek , June 27-28, 2002)

II. Religion in Government PollsA. Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life: American Views on Religion and Politics: July 6-19, 2006

  • Subjects: 2,003 adults
  • Margin of Error: +/- 2.5%
II.A.1 “What should be the more important influence on U.S. laws?”

  • The Bible: 32%
  • People’s Will: 63%
  • Don’t Know: 5
II.A.2 “Religions Influence: Growing or shrinking?”On American Life:

  • Increasing: 34%
  • Good Thing: 21%
  • Bad Thing: 11%
  • Decreasing: 59
  • Good Thing: 6%
  • Bad Thing: 50%
  • No Change: 2%
  • Don’t Know: 5%
  • Net: Want More: 71%
  • Net: Want Less: 17%

On Government:

  • Increasing: 42%
  • Good Thing: 15%
  • Bad Thing: 24%
  • Decreasing: 45%
  • Good Thing: 8%
  • Bad Thing: 36%
  • No Change: 6%
  • Don’t Know: 7%
  • Net: Want More: 51%
  • Net: Want Less: 32%
(Source: Pew Research Center , July 6-19, 2006)

B. CBS News: Religious and Spiritual Values in Schools: April 6-9, 2006
  • 899 adults nationwide
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
II.B.1 “Would you like to see religious and spiritual values have more influence in the schools than they do now, less influence, or about the same influence as they do now?”

  • More: 49%
  • Less: 16%
  • Same: 32%
  • Unsure: 3%
(Source: CBS News , April 6-9, 2006)

C. Gallup: Religion in Public Schools: Aug. 8-11, 2005
  • Subjects: 1,001 adults nationwide
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
II.C.1 “Thinking about the presence that religion currently has in public schools in this country, do you think religion has too much of a presence in public schools, about the right amount, or too little of a presence in public schools?”

  • Too much: 11%
  • About Right: 27%
  • Too little: 60%
  • Unsure: 2%
(Source: Gallup , August 8-11, 2005)

D. Bliss Institute: The Religious Landscape and Religious Expression by Candidates: Mar.-May 2004

  • Subjects: 1,001 adults nationwide
  • Margin of Error: +/- 3%
II.D.1
Religious Affiliation
Uncomfortable When
Candidates Discuss Faith
Important that President
Have Strong Religious Beliefs
% Agree
% Disagree
% Agree
% Disagree
ENTIRE SAMPLE
37
63
68
32
Evangelical Protestant
24
76
87
13
Mainline Protestant
35
65
71
29
Latino Protestants
31
69
82
18
Black Protestants
28
72
85
15
Catholic
40
60
70
30
Latino Catholic
40
60
73
27
Other Christian
26
74
78
22
Other Faiths
61
39
47
53
Jewish
67
33
25
75
Unaffiliated
54
46
28
72
II.D.2
Groups
Organized Religious Groups
Should Stand up for Beliefs
Organized Religious Groups
Should Stay out of Politics
% Agree
% Disagree
% Agree
% Disagree
ENTIRE SAMPLE
76
24
47
53
Evangelical Protestant
84
16
35
65
Mainline Protestant
76
24
48
52
Latino Protestants
78
22
40
60
Black Protestants
89
11
35
65
Catholic
74
26
52
48
Latino Catholic
76
24
40
60
Other Christian
63
37
57
43
Other Faiths
70
30
60
40
Jewish
63
37
57
43
Unaffiliated
63
37
64
36
(Source: Fourth National Survey of Religion and Politics, Bliss Institute , University of Akron, Mar.-May 2004)

E. International Social Survey Program: 1996, 1998

  • Subjects: Not available
  • Margin of Error: Not available
  • Numbers designate the percentage of those polled who agree with the statement.
II.E.1
Statement
United
States
Great
Britain
France
Western
Germany
Eastern
Germany
Believe in God
92
68
52
62
26
Believe in life after death
81
59
51
55
15
Believe in heaven
86
53
33
46
22
Believe in hell
74
32
20
36
11
Believe in miracles
79
38
37
62
38