Trump, Clinton and Religion: Part 1 (The “Nones”)

scienceI’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:

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