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Religion, Communication, and Social Capital
Unformatted Document Text:  Religion, Communication, and Social Capital --11-- comprising religious news media, books, videos, Web sites, radio, and recorded music -- is estimated to be a $3 billion industry (Peyser, 2001). At the individual cognitive level, to the degree that evangelical Protestants may hold to stronger religious beliefs than mainline Protestants (Leege and Kellstedt, 1993), or are likely to be receiving frequent cues from church leaders and fellow congregants regarding society at large, the political system, or the mainstream media (Jelen, 1992), evangelical Protestants may feel less efficacious about the political process, be less trusting of others, and less trusting of political institutions than mainline Protestants. Based on the principle of cognitive dissonance, evangelicals may also be less likely to use “secular” public affairs media, and less likely to engage in political conversations with a diversity of others. All together, though evidence remains incomplete, it is likely that there are significant differences between white evangelical Protestants and white mainline Protestants in relation to social capital. This leads to the following research question: R2: What are the linkages between denominational affiliation and indicators of social capital? Specifically, what are the effects of white evangelical Protestant and white mainline Protestant denominational affiliation on social and political trust? Methodology Data for our study came from the 2000 National Election Study, based on a national sample of 1807 respondents between September and December 2000. Like every election year, the survey was based on pre-election interviews with respondents who were then re-interviewed after Election Day. The response rate for the first wave was 64.5%. The response rate for the re- interviews was 86%. In our analysis, we exclude the 15% of respondents who dropped out in the post-election portion of the survey, leaving us with a final sample size of 1555.

Authors: Nisbet, Matthew., Moy, Patricia. and Scheufele, Dietram.
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Religion, Communication, and Social Capital
--11--
comprising religious news media, books, videos, Web sites, radio, and recorded music -- is
estimated to be a $3 billion industry (Peyser, 2001).
At the individual cognitive level, to the degree that evangelical Protestants may hold to
stronger religious beliefs than mainline Protestants (Leege and Kellstedt, 1993), or are likely to
be receiving frequent cues from church leaders and fellow congregants regarding society at large,
the political system, or the mainstream media (Jelen, 1992), evangelical Protestants may feel less
efficacious about the political process, be less trusting of others, and less trusting of political
institutions than mainline Protestants. Based on the principle of cognitive dissonance,
evangelicals may also be less likely to use “secular” public affairs media, and less likely to
engage in political conversations with a diversity of others. All together, though evidence
remains incomplete, it is likely that there are significant differences between white evangelical
Protestants and white mainline Protestants in relation to social capital. This leads to the
following research question:
R2: What are the linkages between denominational affiliation and indicators of social
capital? Specifically, what are the effects of white evangelical Protestant and white
mainline Protestant denominational affiliation on social and political trust?
Methodology
Data for our study came from the 2000 National Election Study, based on a national
sample of 1807 respondents between September and December 2000. Like every election year,
the survey was based on pre-election interviews with respondents who were then re-interviewed
after Election Day. The response rate for the first wave was 64.5%. The response rate for the re-
interviews was 86%. In our analysis, we exclude the 15% of respondents who dropped out in the
post-election portion of the survey, leaving us with a final sample size of 1555.


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