A poll found the majority of churches did not discuss politics this election season.
The 2016 presidential campaign may have dominated conversations in 2016, but if the survey data from Pew Research Center is to be believed, churches stayed clear of such discussions. Public perception was overwhelmingly negative of the winning candidate, the press, and the parties as well. Much criticism was also directed against how the pollsters behaved during the campaign.
The Pew Research was conducted over a period of four days, from November 10 to November 14 and the total number of respondents for the poll was 1,254 people of voting age. They were interviewed prior to the polls and also post-election results. 50 percent expressed happiness that Trump won the election while an almost equal number- 48 percent were found to be unhappy. The figures vary from the results taken four years before when Barack Obama won the presidency for the second time. 52 percent of those polled were happy to see Obama keeping the presidency.
When it comes to churches making an influence in electoral politics, a small number of the respondents say that information concerning elections were accessed by them in places of worship. These individuals make up 14 percent of the respondent population. Only five percent say that the clergy tried to influence their voting patterns. Not many respondents, only six percent, say that religious organizations tried to contact them for the purpose of swaying the electoral results.
Trump remained a divisive figure. His conduct during the campaign gave him the lowest scores for any winning candidate. Only 30 percent of voters awarded Trump the top two A and B ratings. 19 percent gave him a C rating and 15 percent gave him a D. A large 35 percent gave him failing grades. In contrast, 57 percent of voters awarded Obama A or B ratings. Post 2008 elections 75 percent of voters gave him the top two ratings.
Interestingly, the Pew Research Center discovered that voters gave Clinton, the losing candidate, better grades than the winner. This is the first time in its number crunching history. About 43 percent gave Clinton an A or a B.
Poll: Very few church leaders talked about election from pulpit this year https://t.co/NXfZaNr8jC
— Matthew Sheffield (@mattsheffield) November 28, 2016
The U.S. Constitution's first amendment protects right of religious organizations, including churches to engage in politics. However, as per present tax law, the churches which actively aid or endorse political candidates may lose their exemption status from federal tax.
- Pew Research Center – “Most say their churches remained above the electoral fray this year”
- Pew Research Center – “Low Marks for Major Players in 2016 Election – Including the Winner”