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Statting While Catholic

As a Catholic statistician, I tend to read any story headlined with “Surveys say Catholics . . .” ready to flinch. Robert Wuthnow and Emma Green have both raised serious questions about how much religion polls can tell us, and how easy they are to misinterpret.Since I work as a data journalist . . . . Continue Reading »

In Polls We Trust

One of the many claims of today’s polling industry is that it is the source of credible evidence about religion. It tells us week by week how many Americans regularly attend religious services, whether religion’s strength in our lives is holding its own or declining, and how often we pray. We . . . . Continue Reading »

About Those Religion Surveys ...

The latest edition of First Things magazine, soon to be available online, contains an important piece by Princeton sociologist of religion Robert Wuthnow, “In Polls We Trust.” Actually, it’s one of the most important pieces on American religion I’ve read in quite a while. Not for what it . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Polls Make Us Dumb

There are three groups of people who consistently have a detrimental affect on American politics: Republicans, Democrats, and pollsters. Of this trio, the most nefarious are the pollsters. While politicians have the ability to create public policy, pollsters have the power to craft public opinion. Although opinion polls are often treated as if they were harmless detritus of the news-cycle, they are powerful tools … Continue Reading »

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