Survey Offers a Look into How Democrats from Different Religions View Their Presidential Candidates

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the favorite for both Catholics and Protestants while unaffiliated voters prefer Warren.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center pegged former Vice President Joe Biden as a favorite for Catholics and Protestants. Biden has the strongest support among Catholics. Forty-five percent of fellow white Catholics made him their first choice.

Only 18 percent of religiously unaffiliated Democrats pledged support for Biden’s candidacy. Atheists, agnostics and those who refuse to define their religious inclination make up the section of religiously unaffiliated Americans. This section has been showing an increase in numbers in the Democratic Party.

Twenty-three percent of Democratic/Democratic-leaning voters are looking at Biden as their foremost choice. In contrast, only 11 percent of Catholic and 8 percent of Protestant voters display the same allegiance.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have proven more successful in gathering support from the religiously unaffiliated American population than from Catholics or Protestants.

When it came to Sanders, 16 percent of the Democratic voting population chose him as their first choice. Six percent of Catholics and 8 percent of Protestants agreed.

Michele Margolis, author of From Politics to the Pews, speculated that the voters’ ages could be the reason why Sanders and Warren aren’t performing well among religious voters. Younger Americans are identifying themselves as religiously unaffiliated increasingly.

The older population continues to be religious. Younger voters tend to be concerned about student debt and single-payer health care programs, which both Sanders and Warren back.

On the other hand, older voters are more likely to choose Biden on the grounds of his being an establishment candidate. Margolis believes this is where a significant religious gap arises between the younger and older Democratic voting population.

The Pew Research Center conducted its survey between July 22 – August 4. 1,757 Democratic and Democratic inclined voters made up the sample group. The second Democratic primary debate also took place around at that time.

The survey did not give the participants a decided set of candidates to pick from and could be the reason many individuals expressed their indecision. A sizeable chunk of the total number of Protestants interviewed, 36 percent, were unsure of their first pick for the Democratic nomination. Some of them even refused to answer the question. Forty-six percent of these individuals were Black Protestants.

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