WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- Americans have increasingly voiced a preference for the separation of church and state over the past decade, the Pew Research Center in Washington said.
Fifty-four percent of respondents to a survey said churches should steer clear of politics, a view that has been in the majority for the past three years. In contrast, a majority supported churches' involvement in politics between 1996 and 2006, Pew said.
In the 10-year history of asking the question, the percentage of Americans who say politics and religion shouldn't mix is at an all-time high, with 38 percent saying there has been too much religious expression from political leaders and 30 percent saying there has been too little, Pew said in a release Wednesday.
In 2010 those figures were reversed, with 37 percent saying there was too little religious expression and 29 percent saying there was too much. The increase in uneasiness with political leaders' expression of faith and prayer was seen among both Democrats and Republicans, the release said.
The March 7-11 poll surveyed 1,503 adults and had an error margin of 3 percentage points.
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