Is Joe Biden too religious, not religious enough? Poll finds Americans think both

By , NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that most Americans know that President Joe Biden is Catholic but they sharply differ about how religious he is.

"They know that we have a Catholic president for the second time in U.S. history," said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center. "And that's true of both Republicans and Democrats. Majorities is both parties know what Joe Biden's religion is."

However, partisan similarities end there.

"Most Democrats say that they think Joe Biden is a religious person, or that he's at least somewhat personally religious," Smith tells KMOX. "Most Democrats say furthermore that they think Joe Biden discusses his faith and prayer about the right amount of time. Republicans disagree on both counts. Most Republicans say they think Joe Biden is not too religious or not at all religious, and they say furthermore that he doesn't talk about his religion the right amount. They think he talks about it either too little or too much."

This survey of 12,055 U.S. adults was conducted March 1-7, 2021.

Smith says they found some big differences in opinion when they asked people from a variety of different religious groups whether or not they think Joe Biden is a religious person.

"On the one hand, we see that most religiously unaffiliated people, most Jewish respondents, and most Catholics along with black Protestants tell us they think Joe Biden is a religious person," said Smith. "They think he's at least somewhat religious in his personal life."

On the other hand, the big exception to that pattern is white Evangelical Protestants.

"Upwards of six in ten white Evangelical Protestants tell us they don't think Joe Biden is particularly religious," according to Smith. "Part of what you see there is a reflection of partisanship. White Evangelical Protestants are among the most strongly Republican constituencies in the United States and Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say they don't think Joe Biden is a religious person."

This Pew survey also found that the partisan divisions in views of President Biden's religion extend to his fellow Catholics.

"Most Catholic Democrats say they think that Joe Biden is a religious person," Smith tells KMOX. "Most Catholic Republicans disagree -- they say they don't think that he's particularly religious."

And Catholic Republicans and Democrats also disagree about whether or not the President should be able to receive Communion in the Catholic Church.

"About nine in ten Catholic Democrats say yes, of course, he should be allowed to receive Communion in the Catholic Church," said Smith. "But a slim majority -- 55 percent of Catholic Republicans -- say that Joe Biden's position on abortion should disqualify him from receiving Communion in the Catholic Church."

Two-thirds of U.S. adults say they are not sure of Vice President Kamala Harris' religious identity. 12-percent of respondents correctly said that she is a Protestant. Vice President Harris identifies herself as Baptist. Democrats are more likely to say that the Vice President is Protestant -- 18% vs 7% -- while Republicans are more inclined to say that she does not have a religion -- 15% vs 3%.

Read the full report, here.

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