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Erik Johnson Lab Site Additional research interests

Environmental public opinion and content analysis

In addition to my primary research areas, I am interested in change in public opinion of the environment  and methodological issues associated with historical content analysis.

My research on environmental public opinion has been a collaborative project with Dr. Philip Schwadel, University of Nebraska. In our first paper on the topic (forthcoming in the Journal for Scientific Study of Religion) we employ almost three decades of survey data to examine the factors that promote evangelical protestants’  particularly strong opposition to environmental spending. We find that differences in support for environmental spending between evangelical and mainline Protestants are primarily due to views of the bible, and to a lesser extent service attendance, but not at all to Republican identification. Conversely, differences between evangelical Protestants and unaffiliated Americans are increasingly due to political partisanship. The results shed light on the causal effects of religion on views of the environment, temporal changes in the social and political implications of religiosity, the persistence of divisive issues that support the continued existence of culture wars, and the future of government spending on environmental problems in a social context where scientific evidence is filtered through political and religious ideology.

Dr. Schwadel and myself have also presented preliminary results of research examining how US public opinion on the environment changes over time in reaction to national, especially presidential, politics.

My research on methods of historical content analysis has examined the veracity of the Encyclopedia of Associations as a source of data on a broad range of non-profit associations. Click here to view the paper. In a piece forthcoming in Research in Social Movements Conflict and Change I examine (with Dr. Jon Agnone and Jon Schreiner) the correspondence between full-text coding of the New York Times for protest events and coding relying on the NY Times abstract (a dominate method of analysis within social movement studies before 2000). With my graduate student Nathan Lindstedt I am working on a paper that assesses different strategies for making backwards projections of organizational populations dynamics.