Most Americans doubt Scientology is true religion: poll

NEW YORK Mon Oct 1, 2012 4:31pm EDT

People walk past the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles building in Los Angeles, California July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

People walk past the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles building in Los Angeles, California July 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most Americans do not think Scientology is a true religion, more people would prefer to win an Olympic gold medal than a Pulitzer prize and celebrity endorsements do not carry much weight, according to a new poll released on Monday.

Seventy percent of respondents to the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll said the controversial Church of Scientology, which is popular with Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, was not a real religion, but 13 percent said that it was.

Religious surveys have estimated that less than 100,000 Americans practice Scientology, which is often branded a cult by its critics.

"It's a tribute to America's tradition of religious tolerance that Scientology is accepted throughout the country," the survey noted in its analysis of the results.

The poll also showed that brawn trumped brains with 40 percent of Americans saying they wanted an Olympic gold medal gracing their mantel, while 36 percent would prefer a Pulitzer prize and seven percent wanted an Oscar.

On the home front, the Obamas were the clear choice when it came to which family children might marry into, with 19 percent choosing the presidential family compared with 18 percent for the Kennedys and the 16 percent for the British royal family.

On the weightier subject of illegal immigration, 18 percent of people questioned said that, if they saw a family trying to cross the border from Mexico illegally, they would try to help them, but 41 percent said they would report them. Thirty percent said they would look the other way.

The poll also revealed that celebrity endorsements are irrelevant, with 89 percent saying they made no difference. And despite all the focus on personal technology, 70 percent of people said they would rather lose their smart phone than their wallet.

When asked about giving up chicken or beef, 32 percent of Americans said they would have the hardest time dropping beef, while 26 percent chose chicken. Pork and lamb were far behind, but nearly a third said they could easily give up all of them.

The telephone poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,027 adults nationwide in August and had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud.; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Andre Grenon)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Julie_Kanon wrote:
Scientology is a totalitarian political movement, operating as a criminal racket, disguised as a cult, parading as a religion, hiding behind 400+ front groups.

Oct 01, 2012 6:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
hartley wrote:
One error: the most recent religious survey (ARIS 2008) estimated that there are less than 50,000 American Scientologists. 100,000 would be the worldwide figure.

Oct 03, 2012 7:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.