I’ve been paying attention here to the relationship between religion and the politics of the U.S. Presidential election. We now have some good polling numbers to work with, so now is a good time to take a deep dive into how religion is affecting the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I plan to do this analysis in a few posts.
For the moment, Clinton enjoys about a 9% lead over Trump in the most recent polls. I’m relying here primarily on a June 2016 Pew Study poll, which shows Clinton with 51% support, compared to Trump’s 42% support. I’m looking at Pew, because Pew does the most complete job looking at the religious component of each candidate’s support. While the Pew poll is a bit old, it is comparable to more recent polls: the most recent NBC and Fox News polls also show Clinton with a nine-point lead. CNN’s “Poll of Polls” has Clinton with a ten-point lead. So I think Pew’s June numbers are probably reliable.
According to Pew, where is Clinton getting much of her edge, religion-wise? From the “nones,” the roughly 23% of Americans who are atheists, agnostics or otherwise unaffiliated with any religion. The “nones” support Clinton over Trump by a 44% margin, while the group I call the “somes” (Christians, Jews and members of other religions) as a whole narrowly break for Trump: