Who would vote for an atheist: Dems vs. Republicans

By Razib Khan | October 2, 2012 9:43 am

In response to a comment below, I thought this chart from Gallup is particularly informative:

MORE ABOUT: Politics
  • stillwaggon

    I suspect that the Dems are less likely to vote for a Mormon because they have a particular Mormon in mind at the time of the survey, not because they are less tolerant. Did anyone ask this question before Romney became the best known Mormon in America?

  • https://plus.google.com/109962494182694679780/posts Razib Khan
  • Joe. B

    er…. how would a Jewish lesbian vote? wouldn’t she be a woman first?

  • Rider

    Americans must be one of the most backward people in the developed world.

  • Karl Zimmerman

    In all fairness, the Democratic coalition is essentially seculars + ethnic/religious minorities these days (as Chris Bowers put it a few years back, non-white and non-Christian). I expect that if white voters alone were looked at, the “atheist gap” would be much larger.

    As to Mitt Romney, I think he’s done a lot to help break down certain stereotypes about Mormons. Particularly the one that they are characteristically nice, polite people. ;)

  • omar

    So Republicans finally hate Muslims more than they hate atheists. That took more work than I expected though..and its a one point game (“margin of error”). A few months of no news from the middle-east and the Republicans will once again hate atheists more than Muslims. #muslimrage

  • Bobby LaVesh

    I’m curious what the percentages would consider voting for Protestant or Caucasian candidates.

    What is interesting is that independents are more biased than members of the big two parties for a number of categories. I would have presumed them to be the more tolerant group.

  • https://plus.google.com/109962494182694679780/posts Razib Khan

    #7, they’ve asked for baptists. same range as jew/catholic, perhaps a little less favorable. independents are less intelligent, and less intelligent people are less tolerant.

  • Solis

    I like how the Independents have always been more biased towards minorities.

  • simplicio

    Gallup asked the same question in 2007, and 30% of Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. So weirdly, people are actually less bigoted then they self-report. When push comes to shove, and there’s an actual Mormon candidate running, more people are willing to take him as an individual then said they would do so back when the question was purely theoretical.

    Sort of an inverse Bradley effect.

  • Archwright

    Athiesm would exclude a candidate for around half of voters? This all feeds back into that awful lie that religions tell their followers that “Without religious guidance, man has no morals.”

    To that I say, if man had no morals, religion would never take hold. Neither would society.

  • Anthony

    #1 – plenty of Democrats will be anti-Mormon in general because of the Mormon church’s support of anti-gay-marriage initiatives.

    #10 – back in 2007, the Mormon candidate was the outsider trying to interfere with the coronation of the Republican’s designated successor.

    The question would be more interesting (though difficult to include independents) if it were “If your party nominated a (black/woman/catholic/jew/atheist/mormon/muslim/gay) candidate for President, would you vote for that person?” Or something along the lines of “If the candidate for President whose positions you most agreed with were (black/woman/catholic/jew/atheist/mormon/muslim/gay), would you vote for them over a (non-black/man/Protestant/Christian/Christian/non-Mormon Christian/Christian or Jew/straight) candidate with whom you disagreed on more political positions?”

  • AG

    Wow, atheists should be classified as minority status with federal affirmative action. We are severely discriminated by majority.

    Joke aside. This country might need religion for obvious reason. Most simple people want simple answer for their life, which only religion can provide.

  • http://bensix.wordpress.com BenSix

    Athiesm would exclude a candidate for around half of voters? This all feeds back into that awful lie that religions tell their followers that “Without religious guidance, man has no morals.”

    I’d bet my right leg that the first atheist president has come and gone, though. Possibly more. Though I’d flinch from guessing as to who it might have been.

  • Karl Zimmerman

    14 –

    We had a non-Christian president as recently as William Howard Taft, although he affirmed that he was not an atheist when pressed.

  • Tony

    My country’s leader (Australia) is a female, unmarried (but in a de facto relationship) atheist, and I’m proud to know that she’s doing as good a job running the country as any of her predecessors have. I know she wasn’t technically voted in, but if she didn’t have the confidence and support of her party she wouldn’t be in her position. Shockingly, Australia hasn’t fallen into the fiery pits of hell as a result.

    (Labor, roughly equivalent to the Dems, won the last election. The Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, lost the support of his party during his term in office, Julia Gillard took the leadership of the party and thus also the position of Prime Minister)

  • Anthony

    #14 – depending how you define “atheist”, Jefferson could qualify, based solely on his public statements. He wrote about “Nature” and “God”, and studied the subject, but declared himself to be a follower of Jesus’ teachings, not a believer in the divinity of Jesus, or even the existence of a divine being.

    Lincoln wasn’t an orthodox Christian of any denomination, though it’s unclear if he was a Deist; it appears that he became more of a believer in some sort of God during the Civil War.

    One wonders how sincere Nixon’s Quakerism or Clinton’s Baptistry were, and whether they actually believe in the theistic parts of their publicly professed religion. Neither seem particularly troubled about their sins against their (supposed) religious beliefs.

  • https://plus.google.com/109962494182694679780/posts Razib Khan

    One wonders how sincere Nixon’s Quakerism or Clinton’s Baptistry were, and whether they actually believe in the theistic parts of their publicly professed religion. Neither seem particularly troubled about their sins against their (supposed) religious beliefs.

    i caution you against judging the sincerity of someone’s religious beliefs by indicator variables of behavior. i’ve had discussions in college with sincere baptists who liked to smoke pot and have anal sex with their girlfriends, who were nevertheless worried about the fact that as an atheist was going to hell. i don’t really want to discuss in detail how this individual elaborated how they could believe in their religion while engaging in such acts, but they were for real, and though an extreme case it illustrates one tendency within modern christianity which emphasizes salvation through faith, and redemption from even the grossest sins.

  • http://lyingeyes.blogspot.com ziel

    One wonders how sincere Nixon’s Quakerism…

    Nixon clearly was not a devout Quaker as he enlisted in the military and requested transfer to a combat theater. He also chose to “swear” his oath at his inauguration rather than “affirm”. But according to Woodward and Bernstein’s Final Days, he insisted that Kissinger get down on his knees and join him in prayer in a private meeting (i.e., just between the two of them) at the White House.

  • http://shinbounomatsuri.wordpress.com Spike Gomes


    Did they argue that they were saving real sex for marriage?

    It might have been a power thing on Nixon’s part, considering Kissenger’s religion.

  • Yong

    Even a lot of nonbelievers are suspicious of atheists. At least, this is what I sense when I tell other nonbelievers I’m just a plain ol’ atheist and not agnostic, unsure, open to many possibilities, etc.

  • Chris

    #8 Do you have something to back up the idea that independents are less intelligent? If anything, I would’ve expected the opposite- that independents are capable of thinking for themselves instead of following the party line.

  • https://plus.google.com/109962494182694679780/posts Razib Khan

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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