Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Grant, Jospeh

Abstract

Religion in the study of politcal behavior has produced varied results because of a lack of clarity on the conceptualization of religion and a methodology that can adequately untangle the multiple meanings of religion. Using the technique of propensity score mathching, this dissertation breaks apart the three B's in a number of analyses in order to properly understand how behavior, belief, or belonging operates in isolation from the other two. Focusing on the areas of political tolerance, voting behavior, and public opinion I find the effect of religion varies by type of political behavior. In the case of tolerance, a belief in biblical literalism decreases political tolerance, while church attendance often increases tolerance. Additional analysis finds that church attendance is strongly associated with voter turnout for the Republican candidates. Finally, work on public opinion finds that evangelical religious belonging is strongly related to opinions that are typically considered foundations of the Republican party.

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