The Morning Buzz | June 13, 2012

Welcome to the Morning Buzz, PRRI’s morning dose of religion-related news with a shot of data – because what doesn’t liven up a morning round-up like some public opinion numbers? Amelia’s wonderful vacation in Brazil is over and she will begin doing the Morning Buzz again tomorrow! 

Join us at the Center for American Progress’s “Religious Liberty: What It Is and Isn’t” event this Thursday, June 14, from 9am-10:30am. Robert P. Jones, our CEO, will be presenting on religious liberty in America. RSVP here or watch the event live here.

The Wonderment Consortium wants to place a 9′ tall Tom Hanks statue, depicting him as Chuck Noland from the movie Castaway, in front of an Oakland Public High School in order to lift student morale. I’m not entirely sure how effective this will be, but it is pretty funny.

On Monday, a town in Massachusetts voted to impose a $20 fine on public profanity.

A recent Gallup poll found that 46% of Americans believe God created humans in present form, 32% state humans evolved with God guiding, and only 15% say humans evolved but God had no party in the process. Robert Wright, writer of The Evolution of God, says that the divide is not an inherent problem as policy issues concerning evolution revolve around school curriculum; however, the division does create problems in other science-related policy areas, such as climate change. In September of last year, we found that 57% of Americans believed that humans and other living things have evolved over time, compared to 38% who said that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since creation.

Interestingly, drive-in movie theaters played an important role in creating the Megachurch, specifically the Crystal Cathedral in Orange Country, California.

How much did Obama’s race cost him in 2012? Utilizing Google Insights to quantify racial prejudice, one scholar found that Obama’s race cost him 3 to 5 points of the popular vote. While this did not effect him much in the 2008 election, it could have more of an impact in 2012, especially in crucial states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Lindsey Graham, a top Republican and one among many who signed the anti-tax pledge in 2010, has come out in support of eliminating some deductions in order to lower tax rates and pay down U.S. debt. Could this be a sign that Republicans and Democrats will be able to compromise in the near future? In May, Gallup found that 41% of Americans believed the federal budget deficit and debt was an extremely important economic issue facing the country today.

Does America have a leadership problem or a follower problem?

Walmart moms,” working-class mothers who shop at Walmart, will be an important demographic group in the 2012 election that both Romney and Obama have a chance to win over. In two focus groups, one in Las Vegas and another in Denver, Walmart moms overwhelming said they were concerned about the economy, finding that they always get the short end. They also had doubts about both Obama and Romney, citing Obama’s failure to uphold promises and Romney’s ability to side with the average American. In May, we found that a majority (53%) of female voters would vote for Obama if the elections were being held today, and only 29% would vote for Romney.

Following the defeat of SOPA and PIPA, two lawmakers are proposing a “Digital Bill of Rights” to protect citizens from government infringement on free speech and innovation.

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