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Survey: Religiously unaffiliated, minority Christians propelled Obama’s victory
A quarter of President Barack Obama's supporters were religiously unaffiliated, the Public Religion Research Institute says.
November 15th, 2012
02:24 PM ET

Survey: Religiously unaffiliated, minority Christians propelled Obama’s victory

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama’s victory relied largely on two dramatically different religious coalitions - minority Christians and those with no religion according to a survey released Thursday.

“This presidential election is the last in which a white Christian strategy will be considered a plausible path to victory,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted the survey. “The American religious and ethnic landscape is becoming increasingly diverse, and any campaigns relying on outdated maps are destined to lose their way.”

One-in-four Obama voters were religiously unaffiliated, the second-largest “religious” demographic in the president’s coalition, according to the study (PDF). Minority Christians - consisting of black, Asian, Hispanic and mixed-race Americans made up 31% of Obama’s coalition, the largest religious group.

Among major religious demographics, Obama struggled most with white Christians, including Catholics, mainline Protestants and evangelical Protestants. When these three groups were added up, they accounted for just 35% of Obama’s religious coalition. In comparison, Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s coalition was overwhelmingly white and Christian, with 79% of Romney voters identifying as such.

The Public Religion Research Institute numbers flesh out exit polls released after Election Day. According to those numbers, 70% of the religiously unaffiliated supported Obama, compared with 26% who backed Romney. Ninety-five percent of black Protestants voted for Obama, according to the exit polls, while 75% of Hispanic Catholics supported the president.

Romney, according to the exit polls, overwhelmingly won white evangelical Christians (79% voted for him) and white Catholics (59% voted for him).

The rise of the religiously unaffiliated has been a major recent trend. A survey by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released this year found that the fastest-growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all. According to the survey, 20% of adult Americans have no religious affiliation.

At an event announcing the Pew results, senior research adviser John Green said the growing political power of the unaffiliated within the Democratic Party could become similar to the power the religious right acquired in the GOP in the 1980s.

The 2012 election results have some political experts questioning whether the religious right’s influence is fading.

The Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted after the election that the results show “we are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country.”

Conservative evangelist Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and son of the Rev. Billy Graham, told CNN that while he doesn’t believe the movement is fading, “there is a lot of work we need to do.”

“I just think there are a lot of conservative Christians who did not vote for whatever reason,” Franklin Graham said.

Like Graham, Jones said the legalization of same-sex marriage by ballot initiative in three states last week shows that America is changing.

“For the first time tonight, same-sex marriage has been passed by popular vote in Maine and Maryland,” Jones said last week. “The historic nature of these results are hard to overstate. Given the strong support of younger Americans for same-sex marriage, it is unlikely this issue will reappear as a major national wedge issue.”

The results of the Public Religion Research Institute survey were based on 1,410 telephone interviews in both Spanish and English conducted between November 7 and Sunday. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

- CNN’s Dan Gilgoff contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith • Politics • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,305 Responses)
  1. Asturiano

    When the Christian Taliban tries to control America there will be a backlash

    November 17, 2012 at 5:53 am |
  2. Charley Wolf

    It's widely reported that Obama stole the vote by election fraud. It's common knowledge that he's going to be impeached. Don't believe me? Google: impeach obama campaign ...so why does CNN keeps reporting that Obama won? They're biased media blitz is trying to sucker the American public, that's why !

    November 17, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • midwest rail

      Delusional idiocy.

      November 17, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • Charley Wolf

      Its also widely reported that I am a fudge-packer! I luv to but-slam da cornholio of my buddies!!

      November 17, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Asturiano

      Drunk this early are we

      November 17, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • W.G.

      The only suckers are YOU and PEOPLE that believe like YOU do !

      November 17, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  3. CKEN

    The problem with organized religion is they have strayed so far from the basic teachings. Man's commandments have become more important than God's, and religion has become little more than a retail organization trying anything to appeal to consumers.
    Like any losing sports team it is time for religion to get back to basics. Paul has some good insights into this problem. The church should take them to heart, and remember we are called Christians because we follow teachings of the Christ.

    November 17, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Nate Higgaz

      Yo yo! I be following da teachins of lynchins! How bout dem apples? Let's all chase a cooon tonight!!

      November 17, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  4. Nate Higgaz

    Hey all u jeeg-a-boooz! Let's all be a neeg-a-booo! Don't be a cooon-a-pooo!

    November 17, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Hmmmm, I saw this screen name at FAUX NEWS before FOX took down their putrid blogs.

      Refugee FAUX NEWS blogger alert!

      November 17, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  5. BE A SALAHFI TO BE TRUE AMERICAN, DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, WAY OF hINDU, filthy ANIMALS.

    hinduism, corruption of truth absolute religion's are handy work of hindu atheist, filthy secular s by corruption of truth absolute to make humanity their gentile, slaves, base of hinduism, racism, followed by hindu's, ignorant s.
    Word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity. to learn about hinduism, illegality of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute, please visit, limitisthetruth.com..

    November 17, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  6. Reality

    The topic is about who propelled BO to the White (Blood Red) House. And the answer is once again, the Immoral/Stupid Majority did just like in 2008:->>>>

    Some added details about the Stupid Majority:

    The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from an agnostic 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).

    Statistically if you voted for Obama, you are more than likely a member of the Immoral/Stupid Majority (50-100 million voters) who failed to practice safe se-x on many occasions.

    November 17, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Observer

      Statistically, if you voted for Romney, you are more likely a member of the KKK than if you voted Democrat.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Reality

      "There are roughly 55 million registered Republicans. There are roughly 72 million Democrats. And there are roughly 42 million registered independents in the USA."

      Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_registered_republican_voters_are_there_in_America#ixzz1n7ShWVn4

      From the Guttmacher Inst-itute- August 2011

      "In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions occurred.[2]"

      i.e. making the number of Immoral Majority members more like 100 million in 2012. (Assuming that half of this total had two abortions, the total membership of the Stupid Majority would be 50- 75 million.

      And as per
      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/03/ku_klux_klan_in_decline_why_did_the_kkk_lose_so_many_chapters_in_2010_.html

      The current membership in the KKK is between 3000 and 5000.

      November 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  7. ElmerGantry

    Name calling, ad hominem attacks, libel, slander, innuendo, etc, the techniques of someone who has no viable, logical, or well thought out comment.

    I give you exhibit A.

    "Atheists get out" stated,

    Atheists get out
    atheists get the hell out of my country and take your f@ggot friends with you. you fvcking basterds are a waste. filthy sons of b!tches.

    November 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    November 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  8. thumpin....pumpin....

    We bible thumpas and we be all holy! We like me young and roly poly! We pound dat chute and play da skin flute! We be Catholics!!!

    November 17, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  9. Nate Higgaz

    Yo yo! My name is Nate and I nate da higgaz...my good friend Cate...she cates da hoonz! We aint be racist...we just be realists... I got a couple spoooks slav..I mean, workin for me! What up boyeeee?

    November 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  10. GO_GOP

    I be a right wing freak-o and I voted Romney!! Just cuz he lost...I am going to ram some altar boyz in da keister!! That will show em!! Us Catholics be sinnaz and we luv to pump dat plump rump!!

    November 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  11. judy

    im a christian and I voted for the President. The ideas presented by the democratic party just made sense. I even agree with gay marriage even if the people posting here are not a very good representation of gays in general.

    November 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Tom, Tom the Piper's son

    I'm an Ex-Atheist, I now believe in a creator

    November 16, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      As much as I dislike Tom, I'll have to side with her here as you really are an insufferable cretin.

      November 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  13. OZ

    Me and Tom are gay,

    November 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  14. Tom,Tom the Piper's son

    I'm gay and proud of it

    November 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • OZ

      What's funny about this is that Richard (here, faking as Tom Tom) is stupid enough to play the game still revealing *his* hyper-link on his moniker. I would never go there since he, like his kind (I'm thinking Nixon), might be tracking IP addrs.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      D!ckie isn't exactly a candidate for the Nobel, IYKWIMAITYD.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • OZ

      So if anyone else cares to know about this Richard – just follow the dark-blue monikers.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  15. Richard

    I love Douglas and I want him carnally.

    November 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  16. Tom,Tom the Pipers son

    I eat horse poop everybody, and I love goats

    November 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  17. Richard

    I bet Barb evolved from a fat pig or cow

    November 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  18. Richard

    I think we magically appear from nothing

    November 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Richard

      I like to suck big tubular members.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I think you magically appeared out of a dog's turd.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  19. Barb

    Richard is in no danger of getting STD's since no one would be interested in having S with him.

    November 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  20. Richard

    Tom likes children

    November 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • == o ==

      Typical homophobe Richard, thinking everyone in the world is gay, taking out his frustrations on others just because his sister rejected him again tonight.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course. Don't you? Oh, you mean that I like them as you do? No, sorry, dear. You're the one with the perverted views of children, honey.

      Otherwise, you wouldn't have brought it up.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Richard the D!ck is just another iteration of the omnipresent troll who has no life.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
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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.