The Henry Institute National Survey of Religion and Public Life, 2008

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Commissioned by the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College, this survey examined the ways in which religion shaped the civic engagement and political life of Americans. Various facets of religion were examined, including religious beliefs, religious practice, religious identifications, and religious contexts. Civic life was examined in terms of membership in voluntary associations, volunteering, social trust, confidence in institutions, civic morality, and political tolerance. Political life was examined in terms of issue positions, ideological orientations, partisan identification, political participation, and candidate preference/voting choice. Because the survey includes both a pre-election and post-election component, the survey also addresses how the presidential campaign may have changed respondent's candidate preferences over time, and how religion may be related to such change and stability in candidate preferences.
Data File
Cases: 3,002
Variables: 280
Weight Variable: WTPRE, WTPOST
Data Collection
Date Collected: Pre-election portion of survey: April 8 to May 10, 2008 Post-election portion of survey: Nov. 5 to 25, 2008
Original Survey (Instrument)
The Henry Institute National Survey on Religion and Public Life
Funded By
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics
Collection Procedures
The pre-election portion of the survey is a random national telephone survey conducted by means of random digit-dialing, and it was conducted between April 8 and May 10 of 2008. A total of 3,002 respondents were surveyed in the pre-election portion of the survey. Following the 2008 presidential election, respondents were resurveyed between Nov. 5 and 25, with a total of 1,515 completed post-election interviews. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. The survey was conducted by Opinion Access Corporation of Long Island, NY.
Sampling Procedures
The survey was a random national telephone survey conducted by means of random digit-dialing.
Principal Investigators
Corwin E. Smidt
Kevin den Dulk
Bryan Froehle
Douglas Koopman
Stephen Monsma
James Penning
Related Publications
Corwin E. Smidt, Kevin den Dulk, James Penning, Bryan Froehle, Stephen Monsma, and Douglas Koopman, The Disappearing God Gap? Religion and the 2008 Presidential Election. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010
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