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IN BRIEF

Poll Finds Little Clergy Influence on War Views

March 22, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Americans are little influenced by sermons and religious pronouncements about war with Iraq, but few resent clergy activism, according to a new poll released this week.

Only 10% of Americans said religious beliefs were the strongest influence on their attitude about the war. Among the roughly half of the population who said they attend worship at least monthly, 17% said religious beliefs were the strongest influence.

Past polls, which examined issues including abortion, same-sex marriage and capital punishment, showed a larger impact of religious belief on people's views.

A third of Americans said religious leaders had at least "some influence" on their thinking about the war, compared with 7% who said they were influenced by Hollywood celebrities.

Only 15% of Americans thought religious leaders had been saying too much about the war; 32% thought they had said too little, a view that was most prevalent among war opponents.

The survey, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press based in Washington, D.C., questioned 1,032 adults from March 13 through Sunday and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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