Since the rise of the religious right, scholars have become increasingly interested in studying conservative Protestantism. Not only do conservative Protestants (CPs) make up at least a quarter of the US population; they differ from many Americans in gender-role attitudes, childrearing styles, political orientation, and other ways as well. In fact, religious factors often predict people's political views better than do either class or gender, even though the latter two have received far more attention in the scholarly literature (Manza & Brooks 1997, Kellstedt et al 1996b). Unfortunately research in this area has been hampered by imprecise measurement and poor understanding of the various movements grouped together as CPs. This has muddied statistical results, stifled theoretical development, and blinded researchers to promising areas of analysis. Thus, in this chapter we first discuss the history and distinctive qualities of the various CP movements, then we use these insights to propose better survey measures, and finally we apply this knowledge to several substantive areas (i.e., gender-role attitudes, childrearing styles, tolerance, the “culture wars,” the religious right, and the reasons for the religious vitality of CP groups).


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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