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Politics Influences How You View, Work to End Poverty

A person’s political leaning influences their perspective on poverty and how they work to address poverty, according to a Barna Group report released on June 19.

U.S. adults who self-identify as political liberals were nearly twice as likely as those identifying as political conservatives (37 percent to 19 percent) to be “extremely concerned about global poverty.”

When asked if they “consider it important to personally volunteer or donate for international poverty,” 71 percent of liberals said “yes,” compared to 43 percent of conservatives.

“Things change when you look only at practicing Christians. Practicing faith has a strong positive influence on people’s engagement with the poor, regardless of political ideology,” the report stated. “The results show that an active faith indeed produces some consistency in ideas about and engagement with the poor.”

Practicing liberal and moderate Christians were more likely than practicing conservative Christians to help those in need in their community, in the U.S. and in other countries.

They were also more likely to donate to organizations addressing needs overseas and engaging social justice issues as well as political groups / organizations and refugee resettlement.

Practicing conservative Christians were more likely than practicing liberal and moderate Christians to have volunteered in a local church.

They were also more likely to donate to a church / place of worship, individuals in need and medical aid / research.

“Some gaps do remain between conservative and moderate/liberal practicing Christians in their reported activities, and even more so in their mindsets,” Barna said. “For instance, nearly half of practicing Christians who identify as liberal or moderate (42 percent) express extreme concern about global poverty, while conservative practicing Christians align with the average American (26 percent).”

The full report is available here.