Results of Our Reader Survey

November 1992

One of our more enjoyable tasks this year was reading and tabulating the responses to our Reader Survey, which all our subscribers were given a chance to fill out (see our July-Aug. issue). We were pleasantly sur­prised by the volume of responses, which constituted 5.6% of our subscribers.

As for religious orientation, 72.2% of our respondents are Roman Catholic (a small per­centage of that being Eastern-Rite Catholic), 7% moderate Protestant, 6.8% Episcopalian/Anglican, 5.6% liberal Protestant, 3.9% evan­gelical Protestant, 1.5% Eastern Orthodox, 1.5% “other,” 1.2% “none,” and 0.5% Jewish. (Here, as sometimes elsewhere, the percent­ages don’t add up to exactly 100% because of rounding off.)

Of the “others,” the most interesting re­sponse was “Barthian agnostic,” leading us to ask if Barth’s “Wholly Other” God didn’t at times become so distant as to be for all practi­cal purposes nonexistent. A more pertinent query: How many other Catholic periodicals, even those which are theologically liberal, can claim a readership which is over 25% non-Catholic? Conversely, how many Protestant periodicals can claim a readership which is over 25% Catholic? We do know that the liber­al Protestant Christian Century — which stress­es its ecumenicity — allows that less than 5% of its readers are Catholic.

As for political orientation, 30% of our re­spondents are economically left but culturally conservative, 13.2% traditionalist conservative, 12% centrist or moderate, 10.3% conservative or neoconservative, 7.7% culturally liberal but economically conservative, 6.5% “other,” 5.8% liberal or neoliberal, 5% social democratic, 4.1% radical, 2.6% libertarian conservative, with 2.6% leaving the question blank. The most fetching “other” was “bemused obser­ver.” Interestingly, a majority of respondents — 58.8% — are unwilling to assign themselves to one of the six conventional “left” or “right” categories.

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