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Religious Freedom Index, American Perspectives on the First Amendment, 2020




Lyman, C., & Allsop, D. (2021, February 15). Religious Freedom Index, American Perspectives on the First Amendment, 2020.


The Religious Freedom Index gives a unique look into American public opinion on First Amendment freedoms. The Index's focus on core religious liberty principles, contextualized with questions on some of the year's most pressing social issues, provides a yearly cross section of public sentiment on the intersection of law, religion, and culture.

The Index covers six dimensions of religious freedom: Religious Pluralism, Religion and Policy, Religious Sharing, Religion in Society, Church and State, and Religion in Action. The scores on these dimensions contribute to an annual composite Index score on a scale from 0 to 100 where 0 indicates complete opposition to principles of religious freedom and 100 indicates robust support.

In addition to the annual Index questions, this year's poll asked about Americans' opinions on the intersection of religious liberty and the COVID-19 pandemic, elections, and racial justice.

The ARDA has added six additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 1000
Variables: 143
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection

September 30, 2020 - October 8, 2020

Funded By

Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Templeton Religion Trust, the Our Sunday Visitor Foundation and the Maclellan Foundation

Collection Procedures

The Religious Freedom Index are data gathered from an annual online poll of a nationally representative sample Participants of the survey consented to participate through an online panel voluntarily. All directions were shared (i.e., who to contact, where to follow up) at the beginning of the survey. Dynata is the online panel provider used for this research study. Participants were eligible if they were above 18 years of age and a resident of the United States. The sample of participants were purposefully screened to represent the U.S. population by age, gender, education, race/ethnicity and region.

Sampling Procedures

This questionnaire was produced through an online survey in English. Certain subsamples received different questions or question wording. No experiments or test subjects were used during any part of the research project, thus a moderate approach to obtaining informed consent was used. Participation in the survey was voluntary and survey staff did not come into contact with any participants throughout the process.

Principal Investigators

Caleb Lyman (Becket) & Dr. Dee Allsop (Heart + Mind Strategies)

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