Are U.S. atheists from Venus and Mormons from Mars?
Far from it, though there are findings from the monumental U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life which could be used perhaps to make such arguments. You can see our main story on the survey here and the survey itself, which was released on Monday, here.
On partisan affiliation for example, the survey found that Mormons were the most staunchly Republican religious group in America with 65 percent of those polled indentifying with or leaning towards that party.
Members of historically black Protestant churches remain the most reliably Democratic at 77 percent while the Godless crowd was also firmly in that camp. It found that atheists and agnostics leaned heavily Democratic (65 percent and 62 percent respectively).
But among evangelical Protestants, a group normally associated with the Republican Party and social conservative causes, things are less clear cut. The survey found 50 percent of this group tilted Republican but 34 percent of such folk favoured the Democratic Party.
This raises interesting issues. Can presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama woo the faith vote without alienating the party’s “atheist base?” Can his Republican rival John McCain woo independent evangelicals?
The survey was taken in 2007, so it is not up-to-the-minute, and the first batch of its findings were released in February. But it involved polls of over 35,000 U.S. adults nationwide and so it is an excellent indicator of broad trends.