Monday, September 17, 2012

Update: Obama vs. Romney by Religious Groups

Here’s an update on religious identity and the presidential vote this year -- following up from my recent post dealing with religiosity and the vote.

This tablebelow is based on interviewing conducted Aug. 1-Sept. 16 among registered voters. I’m using this large sample period in order to get adequate sample size of some of the smaller religious groups. Jewish and Mormon voters, for example, are just about 2% of the population each, with “other non-Christian” identifiers coming in at about 3%. This expanded period of interviewing means, of course, that any shifts as a result of recent news events -- such as those in the Middle East -- would only be minimally reflected in these data.

These data continue to show, as we have seen previously, that an American's religious identification is highly correlated with his or her presidential vote preference.

Protestants (basically those who identify with a Christian religion other than the Mormon faith and Catholicism) support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by 13 percentage points. Keep in mind that black voters are mostly Protestant. That means that, included in this lopsided Romney vote, is a significant group of black Protestants who opt for Obama over Romney by 89% to 5% (Aug. 1 - Sept 16 data). Among white Protestants, the margin for Romney over Obama is 64% to 30% -- significantly larger than the gap among all Protestants.

Catholics are almost precisely at the sample average.

Bigger differences come into play among the other, smaller religious groups. Jewish voters during this time period are going for Obama by 70% to 27%. This is a slightly larger margin than our last report, when the Jewish margin was 64% to 29% in favor of Obama -- although with the small sample sizes involved, this isn’t much of a shift.

Mormons now support fellow Mormon church member Mitt Romney by 84% to 13%, exactly where it was in our June update.

Both those who identify with a non-Christian religion and those with no religious identity are strongly favoring Obama.

Thus, in America today, we continue to have Protestants and Mormons tilting toward Romney, while most of those who identify with a non-Christian religion or no religion at all are strongly tilting toward Obama -- and Catholics just about right at the overall average.

More broadly, Obama's support is highest among those who are not religious, have no religious identity and those who identify with a non-Christian religion.  Romney's support is highest among those who are highly religious, those who identify with a non-Catholic Christian religion (Protestants) and those who are Mormons.

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