Skype Interview: Robert Jones on Religion's Role in Election


"We are religion-and-values specialists and issue generalists," says Robert Jones in a recent Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com.

Jones is the founding CEO of Public Religion Research Institute in Washington, D.C. PRRI "is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to work at the intersection of religion, values, and public life," according to its website.

Jones says PRRI mostly conducts public opinion polling, with some focus groups and interviews added to the mix of data. PRRI covers numerous areas – climate change, poverty, budget, elections and more.


With the Republican and Democratic national conventions almost here, Jones discusses in the interview what the role of religion has been in the election and what it is likely to be heading into November.

Jones, who holds a doctorate in religion from Emory University and a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, points out several interesting markers in the coming election:

  • the historic "anomaly" that has no white Protestant on either the Republican or Democratic ticket;
  • the "religious swing votes" that reside in both Catholic and white mainline Protestant voters;
  • and Mitt Romney's increased favorability ratings, especially among evangelical voters in the South.

But the lingering question, says Jones: Does support for a Romney-Ryan ticket translate into Republican enthusiasm?

"It's one thing to say, 'Well, let's show up and vote,'" says Jones. "But will they bring a friend? Will they stuff envelopes? Will they get on the phone and run phone banks? I think those questions remain to be answered."

Watch the interview with Jones at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-robertjones

Visit the Public Religion Research Institute online at publicreligion.org

Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily

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Tags: Elections, EthicsDaily Staff, Presidency, PRRI, Robert Jones