President Obama Wins A Landslide From The Religiously Unaffiliated

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President Obama carried Religiously Unaffiliated voters 70% to Mitt Romney’s 26% according to a report from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life exit poll data of the 2012 election. Although the President’s percentage was lower than in 2008, it still continued a trend of the nones supporting the Democratic candidates. The exit poll numbers were larger than a similar election poll in September when the President held a 65 to 27 lead on Romney.

In his re-election victory, Democrat Barack Obama narrowly defeated Republican Mitt Romney in the national popular vote (50% to 48%). Obama’s margin of victory was much smaller than in 2008 when he defeated John McCain by a 53% to 46% margin, and he lost ground among white evangelical Protestants and white Catholics. But the basic religious contours of the 2012 electorate resemble recent elections – traditionally Republican groups such as white evangelicals and weekly churchgoers strongly backed Romney, while traditionally Democratic groups such as black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated backed Obama by large margins.

Vote Choice by Religion and Race

Religiously unaffiliated voters and Jewish voters were firmly in Obama’s corner in 2012 (70% and 69%, respectively). Compared with 2008, support for Obama ticked downward among both Jews and religiously unaffiliated voters in the exit polls, though these declines appear not to be statistically significant. Both of these groups have long been strongly supportive of Democratic candidates in presidential elections. Black Protestants also voted overwhelmingly for Obama (95%).

How the Faithful Voted: 2012 Preliminary Analysis

Here is an image of the chart shown on the Pew website:

chart of Pew exit poll data for voters and religion

Another side note to the data is that the ‘Religiously Unaffiliated’ made up 12% of those who voted, the same percentage as in 2008.

“Religiously Unaffiliated” doesn’t mean strictly atheists or even just seculars. Here is how Pew defines it:


Explore Pew Forum publications—including public opinion polls, demographic reports, research studies, event transcripts and interviews—about people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion. This group includes atheists, agnostics and people who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” This latter group can be further divided into “secular unaffiliated” and “religious unaffiliated.”

I would like to see a break down by specific groups such as atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists.

One reason President Obama’s numbers ticked down from 2008 was probably due to less than 100% support for some issues about church and state such as refusing to accept a petition to remove “Under God” from the pledge.

Those of us who support separation of church and state, know that we have a better chance with getting our views heard and supported under President Obama than Mitt Romney so even if the President wasn’t 100% on our side we know Romney would be zero percent.


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