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Coverage of Religion During the Primary Campaign

- July 11, 2008

Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life recently analyzed the coverage of religion in the primary campaign from January 2007 through April 2008. The study finds that

[W]hen coverage of the “horse-race” aspects of the campaign is excluded, religion emerges as a relatively prominent topic, accounting for 10% of the non-political-process coverage during the 16 months studied. In fact, religion garnered nearly as much coverage as race and gender combined (11%), even though the front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination were a black man and a woman. Overall, however, religion stories, along with other substantive and policy issues, took a back seat to campaign tactics and political strategy, which together garnered 81% of media coverage. So despite the attention paid to Obama’s former pastor, questions about McCain’s relationship with his party’s conservative religious base, interest in Mitt Romney’s membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the surprisingly strong campaign of former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee, only 2% of all the campaign stories directly focused on religion.

Read the whole press release here.