Thursday, November 04, 2010

Religion in the 2010 Elections

~from The Pew Forum
Two of the largest religious groups in the electorate followed the same basic voting patterns in the 2010 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives as they have in prior elections: white Protestants voted overwhelmingly Republican and religiously unaffiliated voters cast their ballots overwhelmingly for Democrats. But Catholic voters, who had favored Democratic over Republican candidates by double-digit margins in the last two congressional elections, swung to the GOP in 2010. And within all three of these major religious groups, support for the Republican Party rose this year compared with 2006, matching or exceeding their levels of support for the GOP in any recent election. Republican gains among religious groups parallel the party’s broad-based gains among the overall electorate and white voters in particular.

Analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life of National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll data reported by CNN shows that white Protestants,1 a group that has long been one of the key components of the GOP coalition, voted for Republicans over Democrats in their congressional districts by a 69%-29% margin. This marks an increase of 6 points in Republicans’ share of the white Protestant vote compared with 2008, and an 8-point gain for Republicans compared with the last midterm election in 2006.

At the other end of the spectrum, the religiously unaffiliated supported Democrats over Republicans by an overwhelming margin in 2010 (66%-32%). But the exit polls also show that Republicans made gains even within this staunchly Democratic group, picking up 10 points compared with 2006. This increase is comparable in size to the GOP’s gains among white Protestants, a traditionally Republican group.

Among all Catholic voters, 54% voted for Republican congressional candidates in 2010, up 12 points compared with 2008. Among white Catholics, nearly six-in-ten (59%) voted Republican in 2010, compared with 39% who voted Democratic. By comparison, 52% of white Catholics voted for Republican congressional candidates in 2008, and 49% voted Republican in 2006.
Check out the chart at Pew


Mark in Spokane said...

Fascinating stuff! Thanks for posting. Religion is one of the key undercurrents of American political life, and it seems that after each election there is a big chunk of energy devoted towards figuring out how it impacts our politics. Of course, as long as humans are human, religion will have a role in our public square.

Argent said...

One of the interesting things about the election was the replacement of supposed pro-life Catholics who voted for ObamaCare with real pro-life Catholics. The Susan B. Anthony List targeted these enablers with the "Votes Have Consequences" campaign.