Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Age Problem, or a God Problem?   posted by Razib @ 11/18/2008 06:43:00 PM

I noticed today that Heather Mac Donald has just engaged in another dialog with Michael Novak about God over at Beliefnet. As an unabashed vocal unbeliever Heather is exceptional on the American Right (compare to George F. Will's relative diffidence about his agnosticism). Simultaneously, there has been some concern that the youth vote swung so decisively toward the Democrats this election. Since it is also known that the young people are more secular than past generations, I wonder if some of the shift might not simply be due to the stronger association between American conservatism and a specific religious tradition (conservative Protestantism). Below the fold are tables which I generated using the GSS. I combined ages and political ideologies to simplify the categories (e.g., adding extremely and slightly liberal together with liberal into one category). Also, I filtered the sample so that all respondents were white.

18-35 35+ % Change from Older To Younger
Liberal 31.2 21.8 30%
Moderate 38.7 38.9 -1%
Conservative 30.1 39.3 -31%

Confidence In The Exist of God

18-35 35+ % Change from Older To Younger
Don't Believe 2.8 2.2 21%
No Way To Find Out 6.5 3.7 43%
Some Higher Power 9.6 9 6%
Believe Sometimes 4.9 4.5 8%
Believe But Doubts 21.2 16.5 22%
Know God Exists 55 64.1 -17%

Know God Exists

18-35 35+ % Change from Older To Younger
Liberal 22.3 17.6 21%
Moderate 37.2 38.7 -4%
Conservative 40.5 44.2 -9%

Don't Believe, No Way to Find Out, Some Higher Power, Believe Sometimes, Believe But Doubts

18-35 35+ % Change from Older to Younger
Liberal 40.9 31.8 22%
Moderate 36.2 36.1 0%
Conservative 23 32 -39%

I am struck by the decline in self-identified conservatives who are not 100% sure that God exists. Below is a chart showing the change in the proportion of more secular sectors. I simply added all the categories except for the two most religious ones.


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