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South Polls [Compiler's note: This section will be a regular feature of Southern Cultures, presenting public opinion poll results that seem to be worthy of note. They will be presented with a minimum of commentary—we think much of the fun is drawing your own conclusions—and subject only to rudimentary cross-tabulation, but with information about where the data can be obtained for further analysis.] Richard Weaver observed once that the religious "solid South" preceded the political one; and apparently it will be longer lived, as well. Many surveys have documented the religious distinctiveness and relative homogeneity of the modern South. One recent study that focused explicitly on regional differences in religious and quasi-religious beliefs and behaviors was conducted in the fall of 1988 by Phillip E. Hammond, Wade Clark Roof, and John Shelton Reed. Telephone interviews were conducted with residents in four states: North Carolina , California, Ohio, and Massachusetts. The questionnaire contained a variety of questions about the respondents' beliefs and religious practices, about their views on moral and political questions, and about the homogeneity of their daily social environments. Refusal rates ranged from a low of 27 percent in North Carolina to a high of 50 percent (even after cash incentives were offered) in Massachusetts. This was only the first of a number of instructive regional differences turned up by this survey, and there were a few surprising nondifferences, as well. The entire questionnaire is reproduced (and additional methodological detail given) in Phillip E. Hammond, Religion and Personal Autonomy: The Third Disestablishment in America (University of South Carolina Press, 1992). The data can be obtained for further analysis from the Institute for Research in Social Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3355. _______________________________________________NCCA OH MA Total number polled_____________________________649 655 661 655 Percentage of those polled Raised Roman Catholic8 332859 Roman Catholic now6 262748 Raised Baptist4311152 Baptist now3910134 130 Southern Cultures Total number polled NC 649 CA 655 OH 661 MA 655 Percentage of those polled Present religious affiliation same as one raised in Never had any other affiliation Attended church "hardly ever" or "never" -at age 10 -at age 20 -now Never been two years without going to church Have been, but attend now Have been, and never returned Religion "very important" in life Pray daily Read Bible in last year Usually say grace at meals Never say grace at meals "Bom again" (asked of Christians only) Believe Bible is literal word of God Believe in eternal life Believe in Devil Believe in astrology Believe in ghosts Believe in reincarnation Practice meditation Agree that one can't be good Christian or Jew -if one doubts that God exists -without attending church Agree that "People have God within them, so churches aren't really necessary" Own religious views are shared by -most of family -most daily contacts ("don't know" excluded) Most close friends go to same church as respondent (asked of churchgoers only) "Nearly all" close friends -know each other -live in local community -are of same ethnic background -are regular churchgoers 74 66 2 23 20 61 26 13 68 69 79 61 19 66 62 91 83 25 22 19 6 77 20 19 81 68 21 22 19 42 22 63 58 9 41 43 41 29 30 47 55 59 33 42 39 38 73 56 22 31 27 21 46 8 35 68 50 15 17 16 19 9 70 67 6 41 38 56 25 19 53 61 69 42 31 41 45 88 73 23 27 24 11 61 13 25 76 57 17 16 20 24 14 73 70 4 40 40 49 25 26 37 45 40 18 58 22 25 70 45 25 26 27 13 38 8 33 73 51 13 17 18 17 10 South Polls 131 Total number polled NC 649 CA 655 OH 661 MA 655 Percentage of those polled "Feel close" to many -relatives -friends from school -coworkers (asked of employed only) -who go to same church (asked of churchgoers only) Identify self as Southerner/Westerner/ Midwesterner/New Engländer Identify with region and "feel closer" to others who also do "Feel closer" to -others of same...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 129-132
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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