Survey reveals strong US connection to local churches

Washington D.C., Mar 5, 2013 / 02:04 am (CNA).- A new survey reports that Americans feel more connected to their local church than to any other institution in society.

According to Rasmussen Reports, “nothing else comes close” to the bond between Americans and their local religious institutions.

A Rasmussen survey released March 3 found that 54 percent of U.S. adults feel somewhat or very connected to their local church or religious organization, with 34 percents saying they are “very connected.” The survey did not ask respondents’ religious affiliation.

Local charities and local recreational groups including sports leagues or theater groups tied for second place, with 12 percent feeling very connected.

Feelings of political connectedness are much lower than religious connections among Americans.

Forty-two percent said they are not at all connected to a local political party, while only 25 percent said they are not at all connected to a local church or similar religious organization.

Just seven percent of respondents said they feel very connected to their local government or to the federal government, while three groups of five percent each said they feel very connected to their state’s government, their local political party, or a local advocacy group like an environmental group or a pro-life group, Rasmussen said.

Feelings of connectedness may be age-related. Older Americans are more likely to say they feel very connected to all organizations.

Forty-six percent of senior citizens said they are very connected to their local church or religious organization, while 35 percent of middle-aged Americans and 28 percent of young adults said the same.

About 44 percent of Republicans said they felt very connected to their local religious group, while 30 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of the politically unaffiliated agreed.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

A Rasmussen survey released in February also indicated how Americans prioritize religion.

The survey sought to measure U.S. adults’ strongest personal allegiance other than family. Among survey respondents, 35 percent of adults said their strongest personal allegiance is to their church, with 31 percent saying their strongest allegiance is to their country.

Only 30 percent of Catholics said their greatest loyalty was to their church, while 38 percent said they were more loyal to their country.

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