Nearly half of Protestant churchgoers (46 percent) in the U.S. seek to find a congregation in which people share their political views, according to a LifeWay Research report released Aug. 23.

By comparison, 42 percent said they do not prefer this type of faith community and 12 percent were undecided.

Preferences varied significantly by age, with 57 percent of respondents aged 18-49 agreeing that they “prefer to attend a church where people share my political views.”

Only 39 percent of persons aged 50-64 and 33 percent of those aged 65-plus agreed with this sentiment.

“Like many places in America, churches are divided by politics,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, in a press release announcing the findings. “And churchgoers under 50 seem to want it that way.”

Preferences aside, membership in congregations that share political views are the norm for many U.S. Protestants.

Just over half (51 percent) of respondents said they currently attend a church in which their “political views match those of most people” in the congregation, though a 3.1 percent margin of error means this figure could be slightly less than half.

About one-third (30 percent) said they were not sure, while 19 percent do not attend a church matching this description.

Again, younger respondents were more likely to be actually involved in a congregation in which most members hold their same political views.

A majority (61 percent) of persons aged 35-49 affirmed the statement, compared to 47 percent of persons aged 50-64 and 44 percent aged 65 or older.

The full report is available here.

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