A new Barna study is raising questions about the accuracy of US polling data on the nation’s 176 million self-identified Christians.
Longtime pollster George Barna, who now directs the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, said pollsters will get a more accurate picture of Christians’ political views if they better differentiate the sort of believers they contact.
“Our survey results clearly demonstrate how careful you have to be when interpreting data associated with a particular segment of people who are labeled as Christians,” Barna said in a statement released with the study. “Political polling, in particular, may mislead people regarding the views and preferences of genuine Christ-followers simply based on how those surveys measure the Christian population.”
Barna added that polling organizations tend to ask people if they embrace a particular religious label, but fail to distinguish their specific beliefs about God and about how their faith frames their viewpoints on various cultural issues and behaviors.