When it comes to things Christian, religious bias runs through nearly every major poll conducted in the United States, whether it comes from Gallup, PEW or the Barna Research Group, the numbers are often misleading, confusing or just plain wrong!
Surveys regarding religious issues are not broken out by faith groups such as Catholics, Methodists or Mormons, instead it is done by subdivisions such as born-again, non-born-again, evangelical, fundamentalist and other religious groups, giving a false reading of data and ignoring the encompassing basis of Christianity by ignoring portions of the faith that may not represent the ideal.
In general polls, enumeration of Christianity in the United States is an intentional and misleading mix of wishful thinking, forced fits and blatant deception. Catholics and Protestants are the two major branches of Christianity in the United States, both with various subgroups and divisions. The totality of Christians in the United States regularly appears as 76% of population, but that is for counting purposes only as Evangelicals apparrently think they are the only Christians in the country.
When the census for religious faith comes, there is no hesitation in selection otherwise options would include not only orthodox Christians and Catholics, but categories such as Christians in-name-only, armchair-Christians, annual-Christians and holiday Christians. However, when it comes to turning the United States into a so-called Christian country--anything with the Christian label counts. If you can name it, you can claim it.
Today's Protestant evangelical movement seeks to be the Christian standard as far as the interpretation of biblical scripture and behavior is considered, including how it is applied in this country. Evangelicals wish to be seen as a different type of Christian and based upon behavior patterns, the desire or intent is to stand for "real" Christians in the country even though they account for only a small portion of the American faith group.
Protestants and Catholics make up the two major divisions of Christianity in the United States as seemingly homogeneous groups with the same idea and purpose, but the smattering of truth in that statement is general, ignoring the vast and often conflicting beliefs hidden in an illusory Christian monolith. In the beginning there was only the Catholic Church, which is responsible for the name Christian, the Bible and what books would appear in it, the Old Testament, New Testament and Apocrypha, as well as, the original interpretations of scripture.
For fourteen-hundred years, it remained that way, one church, one God and one dogma, but in the 16th Century Martin Luther changed the world of Christianity and started the Protestant Reformation and the exponential division of Christianity. Now, there are more than 33,000 branches of Protestantism in the world and asides from belief in Jesus as lord and savior, the range of differences between them runs from night to day, making comparisons exceptionally difficult if not impossible.
Since religion and politics often feed at the same trough, it provides an opportunity for an analogy that fits the situation. When voting for the President of the United States, excluding "write-ins," there are only three major choices: Republican, Democrat or Independent. There are no stipulations, contingencies or codicils. The same goes for US religion; a Christian is a Christian is a Christian.