Poll: Jesus would support stricter gun laws, higher taxes on the rich, reducing carbon emissions, and universal health care

This is as close as I’m going to get today, it seems, to some patented slow-news-day atheism-themed clickbait. No need to thank me. Your page views are thanks enough.

Turns out the American public thinks Jesus is a pro-life liberal. Who knew?

The latest research from YouGov shows that on social issues in particular Americans tend to have more liberal attitudes than imagine say Jesus would have. 48% of the public supports legal abortion, compared to only 20% who say Jesus would support it, the biggest divide between public opinion and expectations of what Jesus would think. Only on one issue, the death penalty, do the public stake out a more conservative position, with 58% in favor of the death penalty for murderers compared to 34% who say that Jesus would support it. The smallest difference in attitude is on universal healthcare. 56% of Americans support universal healthcare and 55% of Americans say that Jesus would support it too…

Comparing Protestants and Catholics we see that Jesus’ imagined position amongst Protestants is more conservative than amongst Catholics. A third of Catholics say that Jesus would support gay marriage, compared to only 20% of Protestants. Most Catholics also say that Jesus would support universal healthcare and stricter gun laws, while in each case less than half of Protestants agree.

Abortion and gay marriage were the only issues tested in which more people thought Jesus would take the traditional conservative position than the liberal one. When asked if he’d support or oppose legal abortion, a clear majority of 20/52 overall said the latter:


A near-majority of 32/45 overall say he’d oppose gay marriage — although a near-majority of Democrats say he’d support it:


Among atheists specifically, a heavy majority think Jesus would be pro-SSM (69/5) and a plurality think he’d support legal abortion(!) (31/19). They were the only one of 24 different subgroups in which more people thought Jesus would favor abortion rights than would oppose them. As you can see in the first table above, even Democrats split 29/38 on that question.

On the five other hot buttons tested, Jesus is evidently an Elizabeth Warren progressive — and it’s not always just Democrats and indies who think so. The partisan “WWJD?” split on capital punishment is narrow, with Dems thinking Jesus would oppose it (27/45) and Republicans thinking he’d favor it (43/34). The split on stricter gun laws is wider, though: Overall 46 percent think Jesus would support those laws versus 25 percent who disagree. Among Democrats it’s 68/8 but just 28/43 among Republicans. The numbers are similar for Jesus’s support or opposition to higher taxes on the wealthy — 45/23 overall, with Dems breaking 63/10 while Republicans break 18/40 against. (Independents side with Democrats, 43/25.) When you ask about universal health care, the gap widens even further. It’s 55/19 overall in favor of those who think Jesus would support it, with Dems splitting 80/3 versus Republicans at 23/41. (Again, indies side with Democrats, 52/20.) And when you get to reducing carbon emissions, the three partisan demographics finally align. Fifty-two percent say Jesus would favor that versus 13 percent who disagree; among Democrats it’s 68/4 and among Republicans it’s 31/26, with independents in the middle at 51/13. I’m surprised that the global warming question drew a consensus when the other questions didn’t, but maybe I shouldn’t be: When YouGov asked respondents whether they personally thought carbon emissions should be reduced (not what they think Jesus would do), 40 percent of GOPers said yes versus 35 percent who said no. That may be the real news from this poll. A plurality of Republicans, whether they’re sold on man-made global warming or not, support lightening the atmosphere’s carbon load. Go figure that if they feel that way, they might attribute the same view to Jesus.

Exit question: Will Jesus endorse Hillary in 2016?