6 ways religious demographics could determine Tuesday's winner
November 6th, 2012
02:19 PM ET

6 ways religious demographics could determine Tuesday's winner

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Just because President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney mostly have avoided talking religion during this campaign doesn't mean religion won't play a big role in determining the winner of the presidential race. Here are six ways religion's role in the electorate may shape the outcome on Tuesday.

What factors would you add? Let us know in comments.

1. Will Catholics pick the winner, again? Representing more than a quarter of the electorate and voting with the winner of the popular vote in every presidential election since at least 1972, Roman Catholics are quintessential swing voters. They encompass such a diverse set of concerns and ethnic groups that some challenge the very idea of a Catholic "voting bloc.” However, both campaigns have conducted intense outreach  to Catholic voters and have Catholic vice presidential nominees – Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

2. Will evangelicals turn out en masse? There’s been much speculation about whether white evangelicals, who have accounted for more than a third of Republican votes in recent elections, will turn out in force for Mitt Romney, a Mormon who for years supported abortion and gay rights. Those three facts trouble many evangelical conservatives. Evangelical leaders such as the influential the Rev. Billy Graham have indicated support for Romney (though Graham stopped short of an official endorsement), but will enough evangelicals in the pews turn out to put Romney over the top in swing states such as Ohio and Virginia? Will Obama peel off evangelical votes in states like Colorado, like he did in 2008?

3. Will the “no religion” demographic grow? Americans with no religion are the fastest-growing “religious” group in the country, with a recent Pew survey finding that such voters represent 20% of the population. More than six in 10 of these voters are Democrats. Because they accounted for 12% of the electorate in 2008, they’re an important part of the Democratic base. So will they be even more important today? What would that mean for a Democratic Party that has embraced religion since the “values voter” election of 2004?

4. Will Jewish voters be as solidly Democratic as in the past? Obama won a whopping 78% of Jewish voters in 2008, an impressive proportion even among a solidly Democratic segment of the country. But Republicans have made a serious play for Jewish votes, alleging that Obama has been insufficiently supportive of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Jewish voters represent just a couple percent of the national electorate, but their numbers are bigger in swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.

 5. Will black churchgoers be as loyal to Obama as last time? Recent polls show the that the president enjoys 90%-plus support among African-Americans. But many black pastors have criticized Obama for personally backing gay marriage in May. Will that dampen black turnout?

6. Which way will frequent churchgoers go? The United States’ large number of churchgoers makes it unique among industrialized nations. People who attend a house of worship at least once a week account for roughly four in 10 voters. President George W. Bush won 60% of those voters in 2004, one of the lynchpins of his victory, and Obama’s inroads among such voters helped him win traditionally red states such as Indiana and North Carolina in 2008. The Romney/Ryan ticket has courted this group, saying the Obama White House has attacked religious liberty and American values. Obama’s outreach has been more subtle, with the Obama campaign releasing a video of the president discussing his faith over the weekend. The Republican ticket is expected to win this demographic, but the size of its victory may determine whether Romney/Ryan take the White House.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Politics

soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    FOOLS, ALL OF US!! Previous post, "should we vote in churches", and here what impact does religion have on the outcome of an election! So much for "separation between church & state"! WE do not like a person, not for his policies, plans, etc., BUT because of his/her religion!? BULL!! i would vote for an atheist if they were the best and right person to get the job done! Religion and politics are like mixing oil & water! IF you vote for someone based on their religion you are missing the point! And please don't interject that GOD told me to do it!

    November 8, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  2. WASP

    religion urged people to get out and vote, we did and the overwhelming majority said..............stuff it romney. lmfao

    November 7, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Penney

      I am a conservative and I will tell you why Republicans lost so badly. Todd Akin, Richard Murdock and Paul Broun -You are no longer part of the mainstream. The only differences between certain evangelicals and extremist Islamic clerics are which Holy Book they use and how many guns you're likely to find at one of their services.
      The Christian Taliban needs to be kept in check and absolutely NO WHERE near power.
      Religion is personal. How others live their life and what they do is none of anyone’s business, No one was put on this earth to judge others. You can't FORCE people to be "good," especially your arbitrary definition of that word. Try to make all of the laws you want against it, NO STATE SPONSORED RELIGION!!! The religious right represents a backwards, unenlightened mentality that does not understand government, science, or even compassion. You see, instead of working on the problems that really plague us – poverty, hunger, families' homes being foreclosed – the religious right focused on abortion and gay marriage. Freedom, Freedom, Freedom.

      November 7, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  3. pastmorm

    So, the past few months, I've been really concerned about a mormon in the White House because of my background with the mormon church (7th generation...ancestor even mentioned in the D&C) and how horrible I know it to truly be.

    No more of CNN (which obviously supported Romnesia, the big hairy ape). No more fighting with a bunch of mormon propagandists. All that matters is that not only did creepy conservatrolls LOSE last night, but the mormon church lost the money it donated to stop gay marriage in Maryland and Maine. LOL! ON top of that, how many members are going to be questioning their religion now? After all that fasting and prayer, surely God would have seen the light and created a win for Romney, the chosen of the mormons and God himself. LOL! NOT!
    So, no more of these boards. And NO more of cnn. In 4 years mormonism will be a skeleton of what it was. All of the things that have come out about it's REAL temple beliefs and godhood, etc, will hit Americans and they will put it up there with the likes of David Koresh. Younger generations are already leaving the church (I've been able to help 7 out of 13 of my nieces and nephews see the light of freedom) and as technology takes over, even more will leave behind the dinosaur led by a bunch of smelly, old, pathetic men, that is the mormon church. BYE LOSERS!!!!!

    November 7, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Sabrina Williams

      Mitt Romney a High Priest of the Mormon Church Faith is a scams and what is so sad CNN, NBC,MSNBC, ABC, FOX and other media outlets did nothing to inform the American people. But you can be sure that the Mormons will not stop until their prophecy has come to past.

      November 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 7, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • pastmorm

      oops! It didn't change the President. YAY! WE have FOUR more years of REAL freedom!!!! OBAMA WON!!!!! EAT THAT CONSERVATROLLS!!!!!

      November 7, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 7, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs..

      November 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • truth be told

      Poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation. Prayer was not involved in the election, judgment was. America is condemned to four more years of incompetence for its many ongoing sins, many of which were more than obvious in the results.

      November 7, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • niknak

      Unless you were praying for an Obama victory, which I doubt, then tell us all again how prayer worked in the election?

      Hey TPT, how is your imaginary friend the day after the election? Probably not to happy?
      Why did it not invervene if it is so powerful?
      It can make the universe, start life, perform miracles, control the weather, etc, but not powerful enough to prevent Obama from being re-elected.
      Maybe magic does not work afterall........or is it that whole "god works in mysterious ways" fall back position?

      November 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  5. Lolo

    I guess the Catholics ONCE AGAIN sided with the winner as Obama won the catholic vote, even if narrowly.

    November 7, 2012 at 4:39 am |
  6. A Great Day for Freedom


    November 7, 2012 at 4:04 am |
  7. End Religion

    I feel bad for Hawaii. It seems with every election that it ends before Hawaii has even had their lunch.

    November 7, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  8. Religion is not healthy for political candidates anymore

    Prayer didn't work.


    November 7, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • End Religion


      November 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • nope


      November 7, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  9. Chick-a-dee

    Are you sure you're not also ex-black? 😉

    November 7, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Navan R. Johnson

      I was born a poor black child

      November 7, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • End Religion

      Navan, don't be a jerk!

      November 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  10. The Bottom Line

    Religion was either irrelevant or a negative for those trying to get elected.

    Hopefully we won't have to hear about Mormons all the stinking time anymore!

    November 7, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • End Religion

      They can now climb back under their very expensive rock (under which blacks may be allowed in certain sections under the rock, and where women need to know their place under the rock as well).

      November 7, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  11. The Truth

    Thank you America!! For Re-Electing our President Obama to his second term!!!

    November 7, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  12. End Religion

    Look at all the Romney zombies at his convention center, milling around unable to accept the loss. I hope they don't start eating each others' brains.

    November 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Rule #2

      That's not a nice thing to say! Why would you insult zombies by comparing them to Romney supporters?

      Zombies crave brains, and they aren't going to get any in that crowd.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • End Religion

      You're right. To all the zombies I have disparaged, I apologize. All those unanswered prayers (and the lack of a brain) may make them eat their bibles instead. But then they wouldn't be zombies, just book eaters.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  13. Reality

    The "Stupid Majority" demographic who again put BO into the blood-red House:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.


    November 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • NOPE

      @NON-REALITY: and if you religious nutters would understand it's only about FREEDOM OF CHOICE. then we would all be great.
      just because i exercise daily and eat the required daily intake of calories based on that fact, doesn't mean you have to.
      you have a choice to sit on the couch or church pew and pray yourself thin, but it never works;however that is what america is built on, the ability to choose what is correct for you and deal with the consquences.

      November 7, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Reality

      Leaving god out of the equation (by the way, I am an agnostic)

      The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

      Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      Added information before making your next move:

      from the CDC-2006

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

      And from:

      Consumer Reports, January, 2012

      "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

      Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
      – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
      Followed by:
      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

      November 8, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  14. SuperInvisiBuddy Jesus didn't do so well tonight

    Even Fox News has called Obama the winner.


    Good Christian Mourdock lost. PRAYER DIDN'T WORK!!!!!

    Good Christian Akin lost. PRAYER DIDN'T WORK!!!!!!

    No Republican Senate. PRAYER DIDN'T WORK!!!!

    November 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  15. Patrick

    In a Spirit of love, a person can not consider themselves to be a TRUE Catholic, according to church teachings, if they vote for Obama. Not sure how that impacts polling data.

    November 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      I guess there are no true scotsman around. Obama just served you.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Actually, "true Catholics" know who is and who is not a baptized Christian. Obama is and Romney is not. Therefore even marginally intelligent people know who (Romney) lies about being a Christian and who (Obama) is the target of lies incorrectly claiming he is not a Christian. It is the height of irony that Romney lies about being a Christian in order to try to portray himself as the leader of the "Christian Right".

      November 7, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      from L'Osservatore Romano (the newspaper of the Holy See) 1 August 2001


      November 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  16. gosh

    Ur a freaking troll man. Spewing random Hindu hate everywhere. Since when is this about Hinduism specically? And I'm not Hindu.

    November 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  17. Evangelical

    You betcha religion is going to determine today's winner. Churches provide the grass-roots get out to vote message and help people get to the polls. Would we rather have atheists decide the winner? Never in my America.

    November 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • And the numbers keep coming in

      Akin is losing, Mourdock is losing, Brown is losing . . . no Republican senate.

      Prayer doesn't work

      Obama is looking really good in battleground states . . .

      Prayer doesn't work!

      November 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      It's a good thing "your America" doesn't exist.

      November 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      Atheists have handed you your ass tonight. Grab your hat and get walking back to Utah with the rest of the women/child abusing religious.

      November 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • breathe deep

      I disagree, I think that Evangelical can live in any kind of America that they want to. I will not/cannot deny them that right, and I would hope that by extension they would grant the same kind of courtesy to me. And they would realize that this is just as much my America as it is their America.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Jeffrey R.

      @ Evangelical "You betcha religion is going to determine today's winner."

      It did, by alienating voters. The whole hysterical madness of the Right is starting to fail badly. You knew it would happen eventually, just as the radical left extremism of the very late 60s and early 70s was too much even for most of the flower children.

      November 7, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Answer

      @Evangelical ...

      Hahaha you freak! Your poor Romney is crying now .. what will you ever do now?

      I hope this one event has silenced ya for good! LOL

      November 7, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  18. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.


    Faith in hindu Mormon ism is nothing but faith in hindu Moran ism, filthy self center ism, Romany have some guts to defend his hinduism, racism in front of people. Give hindu Magi' criminal trickster, deserving shoe in his mouth.
    Eliminate hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism to have peace, Islam among humanity. hindu's blinded leading hindu, blinded, game of hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters to stay in business of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, let it be hindu's, ignorant preachers, speaking not of truth absolute GOD, nor hindu atheist, ignorant self centered, secular s. rode with a hindu blinded driver, BET ON A WRACK, YOU WILL NEVER LOOSE.

    Expect nothing better but mayhem among humanity by following of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Allah, and following of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism, neither commanded, nor allowed in Islam as a religion, but Theen Allah, consti tution of truth absolute. Foundation of American consti tution.
    hindu Mithra ism, savior ism invented little over 100 years after Sydana Mohammad pbh by tribes of Kujar of north Africa and imposition as Fatmid Khalaphit by force by denial of Hidth and Quran, justified by hindu Judaism, pagan secularism to impose hinduism, racism by hindu, fabricated relationship with Family of Syadana Mohammad pbh to justify existence of hindu criminal Kings, a violation of fundamental commandment, human equality under the LA. truth absolute Allah. Cause of conflict among Muslim's and cause of down fall of Muslim's and Islam in Spain.

    Sunisim, invented by Turk's by corruption of Quran and hidth to justify existence of hindu King's as Khalipha, after death of Ruler Mohammad, but later renamed, Mehmmat, wisdom of spirit of truth by siblings from his Armenian wife, follower of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism in 13th century.

    Christianity, invented by hinduism,. corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisees, pagan self centered, follower of hindu filthy pig ism by corrupted Torah, known as Greek Torah, translated and commented by Ben Asheer in 250 AD in Yiddish, secularist, self centered language, also known as Old Testament, part of book of Mithra ism labeled as Bible. A way to justify hindu criminal Kings and self proclaimed Prophets, fortune tellers as god's to rule over humanity.

    JUDAISM, Self center ism, pig ism, or Atheism, invented by hindu's pagan's of Egypt by corruption of truth absolute in Torah to Justify hindu pagan Pharaoh's and their hindu pagan Santans, goons as god's to rule over humanity with impunity.

    word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
    Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals to impose hinduism, racism on humanity by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by force.

    November 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Judas is my homeboy

      Go to your kitchen, open the cabinet, and drink all the contents in said storage area. Win win for all.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Akira

      My, you are batsh1t crazy. Filthy denier of absolute sanity!

      November 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.