Wide-ranging study looks at views of white working-class Americans
Published: September 21, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A majority of white working-class Catholics -- 56 percent -- think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. A smaller majority of the same category of Catholics -- 52 percent -- favors same-sex marriage, said the study released Sept. 20. In contrast, 53 percent of white working-class Protestants believe that abortion should illegal in all or most cases, while 52 percent of the same group oppose same-sex marriage. The Catholic Church opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. Robert P. Jones, the institute's CEO, told Catholic News Service the survey was conducted to gain insight into the views of white working-class Americans on cultural, economic, religious and political topics. "One of the things we're hoping the survey will do is move the debates around the white working-class and the needs of this class or working Americans ... to the realm of facts," Jones said. The study defines white working-class people as non-Hispanic Americans without a four-year college degree who hold non-salaried jobs. White working-class people account for about 36 percent of all Americans and 53 percent of all whites. The results are based on telephone interviews with 2,501 adults in the continental United States from Aug. 2 to Aug. 15. Of the total, 857 respondents were working-class whites. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.2 percentage points for the entire survey and 3.7 percent for working-class respondents. Twenty percent of respondents identified themselves as Catholic, while 19 percent said they were mainline Protestants and 36 percent were evangelical. The study also found that 34 percent of the working-class attend worship services at least weekly, 33 percent attend occasionally (once or twice month or a few times a year) and 32 percent seldom or never attend church.
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