History and Government Faculty Publications

Title

Fanning the Flames: Religious Media Consumption and American Politics

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2007

Journal Title

American Politics Research

Volume

35

Issue

6

First Page

846

Last Page

877

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1532673x07302335

Abstract

Both religion and mass media are politically important in the United States. However, little is known about the political role of religious media. Religious media might be politically influential because they help translate religion into political thinking and because their consumers are likely to internalize the political cues these media provide. We find that almost a quarter of the public claims to have relied on religious media when making voting decisions in 2000. Religious media users felt significantly closer to George W. Bush and Pat Buchanan and farther away from Al Gore and were more likely to vote for Bush and Republican House candidates than nonusers, even after controlling for a host of religious and political variables. These findings reflect more than self-selection effects and suggest that religious media have a polarizing effect on the candidate evaluations and voting behavior of their core audience of political conservatives.

Keywords

Politics, United States, media, religion


Share

COinS