An extensive Pew Research public opinion survey on the separation of church found that a growing number of voters believe the church should not involve itself in political matters.
54% say that religion should remain apolitical; only 40% believe that the church (or other place of worship) should speak its mind and actively influence politics. These numbers represent a pretty significant shift in the attitudes of the general population over the last fifteen years.
Pew’s data suggests that this trend might be due to the public’s increasing distaste for religious displays from politicians. The public perception of politicians’ religious displays has changed dramatically in the past two years. This is likely due to the Republican primary contest that featured aggressive wooing of Christian voters.
The changes in the public’s attitude likely stem from a change in the political climate, rather than a move away from religion by the public. Over the last ten years, the number of people who believe that politicians talk too much about religion has quadrupled among Democrats and tripled among Republicans.
These trends, taken together, seem to reflect a growing displeasure with the amount of religion injected into politics. It’s unclear what effect these trends may have in the short term, but it’s likely that a continued trend away from politicized religion (and the social conservatism that typically accompanies it) would mean trouble for the current Republican party.