outposts :: blogging & updates

As an affiliated scholar with Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), I have blogged for fivethirtyeight.com, the Monkey Cage, and Vox.com with Andy Lewis, Jake Neiheisel, Anand Sokhey, Amanda Friesen, and others. This is also a space for other updates and thoughts.

I few years ago I started a blogging project with 5 other talented social scientists called religioninpublic.blog. It has original analyses, discussion of new articles and books, and other features. Here’s my post list.

I also run a blog in collaboration with some really talented Denison students: https://onetwentyseven.blog/ – data journalism turned inward to bring back the public benefits of social science to the campus community.

Monkey Cage – How fights over Trump have led evangelicals to leave their churches

Jake Neiheisel, Anand Sokhey, and I discuss our paper in AJPS that shows how disagreement over politics drives marginal members to leave their churches. 2016 provided fertile ground to extend that research and we find that disagreement over Trump provided the spur for some evangelicals to leave. This appeared on the Monkey Cage blog and at religioninpublic.blog (in expanded version).

fivethirtyeight.com: How Will Obama Be Graded By History? (with Andy Lewis)

After eight years in office, Barack Obama will end his presidency on Friday. There has already been much talk of his accomplishments, failures and legacy, but it will take years or even decades for historians, political scientists, journalists and the American people to confidently assess his place among other American presidents. In the meantime (sorry, we’re impatient), what can we say about how history will judge Obama? [read more]

fivethirtyeight.com: Most People — And Perhaps Most Clergy — Don’t Want Political Endorsements In Church

At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Trump made headlines by declaring that he would “totally destroy” a decades-old tax provision that prevents pastors and other religious leaders from endorsing political candidates. Some evangelical supporters have praised his statement, while opponents to the change are concerned that it signals an end to long-held provisions that ensure the separation of church and state. But even if the law is removed, churches and pastors may be unlikely to change how they engage politically — a majority of Americans don’t appear to want too much electoral politics in their church. We also have several surveys of clergy members showing the same thing. [read more]

MonkeyCage – When evangelical clergy oppose Trump, their flocks listen. But they’re not speaking up.

Although Donald Trump is doing less well among evangelicals than George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney did, analysts have suggested that many evangelicals support the Republican nominee because of long-standing “culture war” issues such as abortion and gay rights. Trump has said he is antiabortion and promised to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, so evangelicals are willing to set aside concerns about his moral character. It may also be that they support Trump simply because he’s not Hillary Clinton. Partisanship is powerful.

Our research points to another factor…[read more]

fivethirtyeight.com: Americans May Be Too Religious To Embrace Socialism

For over a century, scholars have wondered why the United States has never had a viable socialist movement. Socialist parties in other Western democracies, such as Britain’s Labour Party and Germany’s Social Democratic Party, are regularly in and out of power, but the best socialist showing for president in the U.S. was Eugene Debs’s 6 percent in 1912. [read more]

Vox.com: When the Iowa Caucus Goes to Church

http://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2016/2/1/10888852/iowa-caucus-churches

In the buildup to the Iowa caucuses, much of the media attention has been on religion — of the candidates and of Iowa’s caucus-goers. Though less discussed, religion also shows up in where the meetings in Iowa’s 1,681 precincts take place, as many will caucus in a church. Has the religious right captured the Republican Party, seeking to skew the election by caucusing in churches? Not quite. [Head to story

These are two figures that we meant to accompany the piece.

 The figure shows that selection of churches as caucus sites was quite rare among small population counties and very common among large population counties. The correlation is about r=.3.
The figure shows that selection of churches as caucus sites was quite rare among small population counties and very common among large population counties. The correlation is about r=.3.
 The figure shows that choosing churches as caucus sites is only common in more religiously diverse counties (diversity is captured using a herfindahl index using 2010 RCMS data available from theARDA.com.  By the way, this holds in a multivariate model with controls. 
The figure shows that choosing churches as caucus sites is only common in more religiously diverse counties (diversity is captured using a herfindahl index using 2010 RCMS data available from theARDA.com.  By the way, this holds in a multivariate model with controls.