In the United States, to what extent do religious congregations advocate a political party, candidate, or political spectrum (liberal vs conservative)? The geological scope of my question is just the US and its territories. People's individual experiences with this here are welcome and will suit my needs should there not be a lot of formal studies or research. My specific questions are as follows:
In the US how often does a minster/rabbi/cleric (etc) directly recommend a particular political party/candidate/spectrum to their congregation?
If not direct are there more subtle and indirect techniques used to try to influence the congregation's political views? Examples of this would be highlighting what "evil" actions the undesirable side/party/candidate is undertaking, or brief statements such as "People like candidate Y has our interests in mind" or "people like candidate X are ruining our country"?
Are there written or unwritten policies within any religion that cover questions 1 and 2? If so what are some examples?
Do individual congregations tend to be comprised of one party/spectrum or is there ever a fair distribution of political parties/beliefs?
When an individual is selecting a particular church/congregation/minister etc. (such as if the individual has just relocated to a new state) is the political side/spectrum of the congregation important in their selection process? If so how does the individual determine the side / spectrum of the congregation.