As commercial polling expanded, a quieter development took shape in academic settings and among religious leaders. Whereas commercial polling depended on publicity in news media to secure its funding, the academic and religious research conducted by social scientists typically received funding from religious organizations, piggybacked onto studies about other topics, and operated on shoestring budgets. That limited its interest to wide audiences but created opportunities for greater variety in the topics studied. By the 1960s, academic studies of religion based on high-quality surveys were playing an increasing role in shaping understandings of religion.
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