DES MOINES, Iowa (CBS St. Louis) – A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that most American voters are wary of endorsements of political candidates made by religious institutions.

Pew presented their discovery on the heels of news regarding a report presented to Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa that called for an end to a ban on church endorsements of politicians.

“The group, known as the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, is seeking to change a 1954 provision in the Internal Revenue Code that limits the political activities of tax-exempt charitable organizations, including churches and other religious groups,” researchers wrote.

According to Pew’s findings, however, lifting the ban may do little to help a given candidate. Even among those who identify as extremely religious, there are strong feelings that churches should avoid choosing favorites.

“[T]here is data showing that the public remains wary of church involvement in partisan politics,” Pew officials noted in a release on their findings from a 2012 poll. “Two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) say houses of worship should not endorse political candidates.”

Researchers also noted that the sentiment has remained, for the most part, consistent since polling on the matter from 2002.

Resistance grew with age, the findings indicated, with 64 percent of people in the 18-29 age range not supporting church endorsements while 69 percent of those in the 50-64 age group agreed. Those unaffiliated with a religion were also more likely to oppose political support from clergy members – 75 percent of those who did not identify themselves as religious were against it.

The overarching poll in which this information was found was conducted by the Research Center after the 2012 election in November, and included 1,206 American voters.


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