by Ryan P. Burge, Eastern Illinois University

It’s been just over two weeks from election day, and the hot takes about what groups were the most important for Joe Biden’s victory have already filled up social media. I did a number of media appearances in the days after election day where I pointed to the switch in the votes of white Catholics being decisive for Joe Biden this time around. That was based on two things. My own analysis of tracking poll data from Data for Progress, but also some exit polling I had seen from AP’s Votecast.

But, I…


“Faith over fear” is a common saying in Christian circles. It’s becoming a mantra in recent days, as pastors, denominational leaders, and theologians try to navigate what it means to be religious during an unprecedented and unrelenting pandemic. But is that really true? Are religious people less likely to be fearful than the religiously unaffiliated? Does frequent church attendance serve as an antidote to panic and uncertainty? As is often the case in social sciences, the answer is a qualified maybe.

The Chapman Survey of American Fears was published recently on the Association of Religion Data Archives. It was a…


It’s a rare day when I don’t do some type of statistical analysis with survey data related to religion and/or politics. When I am presented with a question about what the public feels or how they behave in these areas, I immediately know which datasets would yield the best results. Becoming so familiar with a lot of the data out there has led me to notice some discrepancies between surveys.

The biggest, and most nagging, disagreement is in the percentage of the population who are classified as religiously unaffiliated — the “nones.” The two surveys in question are the General…


by Ryan P. Burge, Eastern Illinois University

I woke up this morning to read about the creation of the “Conservative Baptist Network” which is a loose coalition of concerned Southern Baptists who believe that their denomination has moved away from it’s true identity. Put succinctly, they think that the SBC has become too liberal.

They specifically point to the reluctance of some Southern Baptists to allow Vice President Mike Pence to speak at the Annual Convention in 2019 alongside some discussion about critical race theory and intersectionality being taught in Southern Baptist seminaries. …


Sometimes you make a graph that is worth more than a tweet. I’ve been trying to visualize as clearly as possible the changes in partisanship among white Christians over the last forty years. A lot was changing during this period, including new cultural issues, racial conflict, the end of the Cold War, all of which was driving the movement of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party, among other things. By including church attendance, I want to see if being a part of a religious institution was fueling this change.

I ran a statistical model of identifying as a Republican with…


By Ryan P. Burge, Eastern Illinois University

You never know when a post is going to take off — the internet is funny that way. My last article focused on white evangelicals and their opinion on immigration issues. In it, I describe how white evangelicals are far outside the mainstream on issues about border security, sanctuary cities, and other issues related to immigration. That got picked up by Vox and brought a lot of attention. For most people, I would guess that it confirmed some priors they had about white evangelicals and their view of the world. I try my…


By Ryan P. Burge, Eastern Illinois University

I have written about abortion more than I wanted to, but it’s all over the news in the last month. Conservative states like Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia passed bills that made abortion almost entirely illegal after six to eight weeks gestation, which is clearly a direct test of Roe v. Wade. Then presidential candidate Joe Biden can’t get out of his own way on the issue. First he proclaimed that he was in favor of the Hyde Amendment, which bans of the use of federal funds to support abortion services. …


By Ryan P. Burge, Eastern Illinois University

For the last few weeks I have been considering a pretty simple question: Why aren’t there more religious nones elected to the United States Congress? I previously concluded that atheists and agnostics are surprisingly cohesive political groups and therefore one cannot say that non-believers can’t get elected because they don’t have a unified political ideology. I also put together a roadmap on what it would take it to get more nones in the U.S. Capitol. Short answer: try to persuade Democrats who live in safe, urban, and very liberal districts.

But, I have…


By Ryan P. Burge, Eastern Illinois University

In a previous post, I noted that despite the fact that the nones are now nearly a quarter of the population, they are not well represented in the United States Congress. In fact, just two members: Kyrsten Sinema, the new Senator from Arizona, and Jared Huffman, a House Democrat from California are the only two who one could reasonably conclude have no religious affiliation. That means that something like fifty million adults nones are being represented by two people. That seems like a failure of descriptive representation. …


Everyone knows the story now. The legislature in Alabama passed an extremely restrictive bill that would make abortion illegal at six weeks even in the case of rape. That’s what struck me as the most bizarre part of the whole thing. I look at abortion data at least every few weeks. People generally don’t love the idea of abortion, but most Americans think it should be legal in some circumstances. The graph below makes that clear.

There is a class of conditions where the vast majority of Americans think that abortion should be a legal option, those include: when the…

Ryan Burge

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Eastern Illinois University. Pastor at ABCUSA. I study American politics and religion.

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