An interview with George Gallup, Jr.

George Gallup, Jr., and the art and science of poll-taking are synonymous all over the world. His expertise has been called on by those in the communications media as well as by leaders in business, education, politics, and religion. CHRISTIANITY TODAY interviewed Gallup, to answer questions about him and his work that readers may have in mind as they read the results of the poll in this issue. Our questions have also sought to delve into Gallup’s own interpretation of the data, so that an outsider’s perspective can be added to that of our writers.


Question: How pervasive is the influence of evangelicalism today?

Answer: I really feel that from the variety of survey evidence, the 1980s could be described as the decade of the evangelicals, because that is where the action is. The fact that 20 percent of all adults today are evangelicals—and their influence certainly extends beyond that number—and that we find in our surveys of teen-agers that they are more evangelical than their elders, all indicate that the movement will gain in strength. Given the fact that evangelicals give more of their time and money to their churches than do nonevangelicals, that they are more likely to want their pastors to speak out on social and political issues, and that they are more ready to speak to others about their faith, it is hard to escape the conclusion that evangelicals will have much to do with how religion shapes up in the U.S. in the 1980s. If evangelical ministers are able to mobilize the large number of evangelicals, their effect on the shape of the 1980s could be profound.

Q: Are evangelicals really beginning to have an impact on, say, the denominations as a whole?

A: Yes, because evangelicals ...

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