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In the New York Times | The Rise of Social Liberalism and G.O.P. Resistance

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As Americans become less religious, they’re also becoming more socially liberal at an astonishing speed, reports Charles M. Blow in his latest New York Times column. Drawing heavily from a recent PRRI post on 2016 primary states’ religious, cultural, and political breakdown, Blow argues that this shift poses a challenge for Republicans as 2016 nears—particularly as candidates try to accommodate growing social liberalism while simultaneously wooing primary states, where Republicans tend to be more socially conservative than Republicans in the rest of the country:

Take Iowa, for instance, whose February caucuses will be the first contests of the 2016 presidential cycle. As the Public Religion Research Institute pointed out earlier this month:

“Iowa Republicans are notably more socially conservative than Republicans nationally. Compared to Republicans overall, Iowa Republicans are more likely to oppose legalizing same-sex marriage (64 percent vs. 58 percent, respectively), and are more likely to say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (68 percent vs. 58 percent, respectively). The social conservatism evident among Iowa Republicans is based in part on the large presence of white evangelical Protestants. More than four in ten (42 percent) Iowa Republicans are white evangelical Protestant.”

Because of Iowa Republicans’ disproportionate social conservatism, GOP candidates may be tempted to skip the Hawkeye state, Blow retorts, but “there is only so much skipping one can do.”

Read the entire article here and continue to explore the intersection of religion and key political and social issues using the American Values Atlas.