The following, taken word for word, are some of the questions and answers based on Gallup’s extensive archives:
Q: Christmas is obviously a Christian holiday. But what percentage of Americans today identify with a Christian religion?
A: About 82 percent of Americans in 2007 told Gallup interviewers that they identified with a Christian religion. That includes 51 percent who said they were Protestant, five percent who were “other Christian,” 23 percent Roman Catholic and three percent who named another Christian faith, including two percent Mormon.
Because 11 percent said they had no religious identity at all, and another two percent didn’t answer, these results suggest that well more than nine out of 10 Americans who identify with a religion are Christian in one way or the other.
Q: It’s one thing to identify with a religion, and another to be actively religious. What percentage of Americans are actually members of a church?
A: Sixty-two percent of Americans in Gallup’s latest poll, conducted in December, say they are members of a “church or synagogue,” a question Gallup has been asking since 1937.
Q: How many Americans can be classified as frequent church attendees?
A: Based on the responses to this question, about a third said they attend once a week, with another 12 percent saying they attend almost every week. This means that about 44 percent of Americans report what can be called frequent church attendance — almost every week or every week.
Q: Are there other measures of the actual impact of religion on Americans’ daily lives?
A: Yes. One measure Gallup has tracked over time asks respondents to indicate how important religion is in their own lives — very, fairly, or not very important.
This year 56 percent of Americans have said religion is very important. Only 17 percent say religion is not very important.
Q: Do you ask Americans about the influence of religion in society?
A: Yes, since 1957 Gallup has periodically asked this question: “At the present time, do you think religion as a whole is increasing its influence on American life or losing its influence?” In December of this year, 32 percent said religion was increasing its influence and 61 percent losing its influence with the rest volunteering that it was staying the same or not giving an answer.