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Most Americans Don’t Think It’s Important for Politicians to Be Religious, Poll Finds

Most Americans don’t think it’s important for a political candidate to be religious or share their religious beliefs, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

According to this poll, only one quarter of Americans say it’s very important that a candidate has strong religious beliefs. Just 19% say its very important for the candidate to share their religious beliefs, and nearly half say it’s not very important at all.

Opinions of religious influence vary by personal belief, however, as most white evangelical Protestants (51%) think it’s very important that a candidate has strong religious beliefs, while an additional 25% think it’s moderately important. More specifically, the poll found 7 in 10 white evangelical Protestants support President Donald Trump, AP reports.

More religious individuals also seem to have a minimal view of the effects of religion on politics. According to the study, 52% of white born-again Christians say religion has too little influence on most members of Congress, but 59% of unaffiliated Americans think Congress is overly influenced by religion.

When it comes down to the impact of religion on specific policies, most Americans (57%) believe religion should influence government policies dealing with poverty. This includes 65% of those with a specific faith and 34% who are unaffiliated. When it comes to climate change, however, 67% of Americans say religion should not influence government policy.

Along party lines, the poll found that around two-thirds of Republicans say it’s at least moderately important that a candidate has strong religious beliefs, compared to only 37% of Democrats.