Attitudes about the Faith-Based & Community Initiatives program, by type of church... 

President Bush’s approval ratings

at 82% among Protestant clergy

(Original release date:  June 27, 2002)  In research results released today, over eight out of ten Protestant church pastors generally approve of the job President Bush is doing, while just 11% generally disapprove, and 6% have no opinion.  During the same time frame in which the ministers’ opinions were gathered, data released from the Gallup Poll showed that an average of just over 77% of American adults approved of President Bush’s performance, while 17% disapproved and 5% had no opinion.

 

Among pastors in the Grey Matter Research study, the president’s performance receives nearly unanimous approbation from registered Republicans, 98% of whom generally approve.  Approval ratings are 62% among independents, and 44% among registered Democrats.

 

Similarly, ministers who define themselves as politically conservative give President Bush a 98% approval rating, compared to 72% among moderates and 38% among self-described political liberals.

 

Although approval is high nationwide among pastors, it is somewhat lower than average in the Northeast, where the president’s job approval rating is 78% (compared to 82% in the Midwest, and 84% in both the South and the West).  Much of this small disparity is because the Northeast is home to a somewhat larger proportion of politically liberal ministers.

 

The president’s approval ratings are about the same among Republican ministers as they are among Republicans throughout the American public.  On the other hand, clergy who are Democrats are considerably less favorable toward the president’s performance than are Democrats throughout the American public.  The same is true of clergy who are independents.

 

Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter Research, explained that the primary reason pastors as a group are more likely to approve of President Bush’s performance is that pastors are considerably more likely than the general public to be Republican.  “While among the U.S. population Democrats outnumber Republicans, among Protestant ministers, Republicans outnumber Democrats by a wide margin,” Sellers noted.

 

“If the proportion of Republicans, Democrats, and independents among ministers matched that of the general public, pastors as a group would actually give lower job performance ratings to the president than the general public does, because ministers who are Democrats and independents were more critical of the president’s performance than were Democrats and independents from the public at large.”

 

Sellers pointed out that if the political registrations among ministers matched those of the overall public, President Bush’s approval rating would be 70% - still quite high, but lower than the 77% among the general public.

 

Study Details:

The study was conducted by Grey Matter Research (formerly Ellison Research), a marketing research company located in Phoenix, Arizona.  Although Grey Matter Research has numerous clients, this study was funded and conducted independently by the company.  The sample of 567 Protestant ministers included only those who are actively pastoring churches.  The study’s total sample is accurate to within ±4.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level with a 50% response distribution.  The study was conducted in all 50 states, using a representative sample of pastors.  Respondents’ geography, church size, and denomination were carefully tracked to ensure appropriate representation and accuracy.

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending,

we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.

Abraham Lincoln

A PASSION FOR

RESEARCH THAT

MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Grey Matter logo

 

Type of Pastor/Church

Generally

Approve

Generally

Disapprove

No 

Opinion

All Protestant ministers

82%

13%

5%

Under age 45

86

9

5

Age 45 – 59

79

15

6

Age 60 or older

82

15

3

Northeast U.S. location

74

17

8

Midwest U.S. location

82

13

5

Southern U.S. location

85

11

4

Western U.S. location

84

11

5

Democrats

44

44

11

Independents

66

17

17

Republicans

98

1

1

Self-described political liberals

37

57

6

Self-described political moderates

76

12

13

Self-described political conservatives

98

1

1

From an National Association of Evangelicals member denomination

96

1

2

From an National Council of Churches member denomination

64

29

7