Archives For Gallup

When Barack Obama won his presidential reelection bid in 2012, the biggest story about the immediate aftermath was how America’s shifting demographics had delivered the victory (and that Nate Silver was right all along, but that’s a different story).  A big sub-headline was the rise of religiously unaffiliated voters (“nones”), who now rival the evangelical Christians in size, but also important was the difference between the religious coalitions that supported the presidential nominees. Sarah Posner called it the “great religious realignment.”

“A recent Pew survey found that there are now equal numbers of white evangelicals and unaffiliated voters, and a Public Religion Research Institute poll found similar results. I noted at the time of the PRRI survey that the bulk of Romney’s base was coming from white conservative evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Catholics, while Obama’s “support comes from a more diverse group: 23% from the unaffiliated, 18% from black Protestants, 15% from white mainline Protestants, 14% from white Catholics, 8% from Latino Catholics, and 7% from non-Christians. Romney draws just 3% of his base from Latino Catholics, 2% from non-Christians, and an unmeasurable portion from black Protestants.”

In short, Republicans rely primarily on conservative Catholics and evangelicals, while Democrats make up that demographic shortfall by relying on a diverse array of religious voters, including religious minorities and “nones.” Now that we are in the second year of Obama’s second term, with partisan politics seemingly as divisive as they ever have been, Gallup polling revisits religious groups and finds that the faiths who still approve of Obama’s performance has remained relatively stable.

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“Seventy-two percent of U.S. Muslims approved of the job President Barack Obama was doing as president during the first six months of 2014, higher than any other U.S. religious group Gallup tracks. Mormons were least approving, at 18%. In general, majorities of those in non-Christian religions — including those who do not affiliate with any religion — approved of Obama, while less than a majority of those in the three major Christian religious groups did.”

Gallup points out that overall approval in each group has cumulatively dropped between 5-7% over the last 5 years but that Muslims, Nones, and Jews have largely remained supportive.

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“Similarly, Muslims have been the most approving among the religious groups in each time period. Jewish Americans and Americans with no religious preference have also exceeded the national average job approval in each time period, tracking each other closely.”

Gallup ends its analysis by stating that: “Clearly, members of various religions view the president quite differently.” However, I would state that, aside from Mormons, who closely ally themselves with evangelical Christians socially and politically, religious minorities in the United States generally see Obama as someone who isn’t beholding to a particular socially conservative strain of Christianity. So even though Muslims, “nones,” “others,” and Jews aren’t as happy with Obama’s performance as they were, it seems that they are mindful that a Republican replacement might be less well-disposed regarding their concerns.

Considering the power and influence conservative Christians maintain in the Republican party it seems unlikely that comprehensive efforts to woo religious minorities will be forthcoming, despite that fact that a fiscally conservative but socially liberal candidate could theoretically perform very well on a national level, not only with some religious minorities, but with Millennial generation voters as well. That said, barring major shifts in tone and policy, it looks like religious minorities are sticking with Obama, and the Democrats, at least for now.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

Chico Goddess Temple entrance.

Chico Goddess Temple entrance.

  • Is the Chico Goddess Temple doomed? According to the Chico News and Review, noise complaints for an illegal festival held four years ago has led to a much larger struggle to survive and gain the permits needed to stay open. Owner Robert Seals thinks that hostility to Goddess religion might underlay the resistance he’s encountered in obtaining the permits he needs. Quote: “This is nothing new, worship of the Goddess, but it goes up against a lot of fundamental religions.” You can learn more about this struggle, and the upcoming appeal hearing, here.

That’s it for now! Happy Friday the 13th! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

Yesterday the Gallup polling organization released a new set of analyses from 170,000 interviews over the last six months regarding religion in America. The focus was on religious identity in different states, showing where different religions were the most (and least) concentrated.

“The accompanying maps give a portrait of this remarkable pattern of religious dispersion in the U.S. for these religious groups, based on a new analysis of more than 170,000 Gallup interviews conducted between January and June of this year. A good deal of the religious dispersion across the states is explainable by historical immigration patterns — particularly the impact of the large waves of European Catholics and Jews who came through ports of entry in the Middle Atlantic states in the 19th and early 20th centuries.”

Their results are much what you’d expect, the Pacific Northwest has a lot of “nones”, Utah and surrounding states have a lot of Mormons, Protestantism dominates in the South, there are lots of Jewish people in New York and Florida, and Catholicism remains vital in New England. All fine and good, but when I looked at the breakdown of their numbers I noticed something odd.

Why were “other” non-Christians not included? No Muslims, no Buddhists, no Pagans. Nothing. They must have that data, so why not release it with the rest? It can’t be simple numerical preferences since the recent ARIS data puts “NRMs and Other Religions” on par with religiously observant Jews and just behind the Mormons, two groups that were included in the released data. Is it down to political influence? I’ve sent a request to Gallup to release the “others” data, but haven’t received a response yet. With such a large sample size we could get some interesting results as to where the “others” live, data that could be useful to Pagan organizations and advocacy groups as we continue to grow. Hopefully the rest of their data is forthcoming, but it couldn’t hurt to politely and respectfully request that Gallup release their state-by-state data on “Other non-Christian Religions”.

ADDENDUM: Folks in the comments are starting to get the following canned reply from Gallup on the matter of the “others”.

“As noted in our article, “Religious Identity: States Differ Widely,” the table “does not include Muslims or other non-Christian religions due to small sample sizes. Table also does not show “No opinion” responses.” Added together, all the “No opinion” responses and “other non-Christian” responses were about 5% of the total responses. Individually, each of the many religions included in the “other non-Christian” category received less than 1% of the responses – many were substantially less than 1%. The numbers were, in fact, so small that differences between states were not statistically significant, and could be misleading. That’s not to say there aren’t significant numbers of people associated with each of these religions, but they are relatively small percentages of the total population. Because the margin of error depends on sample size, a much larger (and more expensive) survey would be required to get reliable figures for the smaller groups.”

If there is a standard reply, we must not be the only ones wondering about Gallup’s omissions.