Politics & Polls #18: The Religious Right

Oct 27 2016
By Julian Zelizer & Sam Wang (Produced by B. Rose Kelly and edited by Bonelys Rosado)
Source Woodrow Wilson School

Since the 1970s, the religious right has been an important part of the Republican coalition. This group, comprised mostly of right-wing Christians, are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies.

Throughout this presidential campaign, both candidates, especially Donald Trump, have tested the religious right. Trump’s personal wrongdoings, in particular, have ruffled feathers, which some say are causing splits within the religious right.

In this episode, professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss this sect with their colleague Kevin M. Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton University. Kruse studies the political, social, and urban/suburban history of 20th-century America, with particular interest in the making of modern conservatism.

Kruse is the author of “White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism” and, most recently, “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America,” a study of the rise of American religious nationalism in the mid-twentieth century.


Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 
Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published more than 600 hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.com

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. In 2012, his statistical analysis correctly predicted the presidential vote outcome in 49 of 50 states. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum and autism.