Centre College releases results of national poll on politics, religion, gay rights

Majority of respondents say equal rights trumps religious beliefs

DANVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2015) — The “2015 Colonel’s Canvass Poll,” a nationwide poll conducted by political scientists from Centre College, shows that two-thirds of respondents believe that employees and businesses should be a required to serve customers alcohol, fill prescriptions, issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and hire gay employees, even if doing so conflicts with religious beliefs.

centreFewer respondents agreed with requiring wedding bakers and photographers to provide services for same-sex weddings or pastors and priests to preside over same-sex marriage ceremonies, if it went against their religious beliefs.

The majority of Republican respondents believe Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination, while Democrats believe Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination.

The poll, which consisted of 487 respondents reached by phone from Sept. 24 through Oct. 1, was conducted by assistant professor of politics Benjamin Knoll and associate professor of politics Chris Paskewich, as part of a community-based learning component of their fall 2015 courses at Centre College. In all, 77 students participated in fielding the survey and administering the questions to respondents.

Overall, 73.8 percent of respondents said that “treating equally under the law” is more important than “respecting religious beliefs,” when the two are in conflict. Only 14.9 percent believe that “respecting religious beliefs” should take priority.

The poll found that 92.8 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners, 86 percent of Independents, and 68.8 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners agree that “treating equally under the law” is more important. There is also widespread consensus among Evangelical Protestants (70 percent), Mainline Protestants (89.2 percent), and Catholics (84.4 percent). Further, two-thirds (68.5 percent) of frequent church attenders agree that “treating equally under the law” is more important, as well as 93.8 percent of infrequent church attenders.

When asked if they strongly or somewhat agree that county clerks should “be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples [even] if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs” 65.6 percent said yes, while 26.6 percent strongly or somewhat disagree.

Others responses

  • 66.2 percent of Americans agree that an employer should be required to hire an otherwise qualified gay employee, even if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • 65.5 percent of Americans agree that a pharmacist should be required to fill customer prescriptions for contraceptives, even if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • 64.4 percent of Americans agree that a restaurant server should be required to serve alcohol to customers, even if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • 60.3 percent of Americans agree that a landlord should be required to offer apartment leases to same-sex couples, even if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • 44.7 percent of Americans agree that wedding photographers and bakers should be required to offer services to same-sex marriage ceremonies, even if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • 28.9 percent of Americans agree that pastors and priests should be required to offer marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, even if doing so would conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs.
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