Monday, December 10, 2012

The "Nones." Perhaps soon to be the most powerful, and barely recognized, new political demographic in the country.

Courtesy of NPR:  

The big demographic story out of the 2012 presidential election may have been President Obama's domination of the Hispanic vote, and rightfully so. 

But as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term. 

They're the "nones" — that's the Pew Research Center's shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don't have a specific religious affiliation. Some are agnostic, some atheist, but more than half define themselves as either "religious" or "spiritual but not religious," Pew found in a recent survey

They are typically younger, more socially liberal than their forebears, vote Democratic, and now make up nearly 20 percent of the country's population. Exit polls suggest that 12 percent of voters on Election Day were counted as "religiously unaffiliated." 

"This really is a striking development in American politics," says Gregory Smith of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "There's no question that the religiously unaffiliated are a very important, politically consequential group."

To me the interesting thing about this group, of which apparently I am a part, is that they will be almost impossible for the political parties to woo.

These would not be one issue voters by an stretch of the imagination, and would have numerous and probably conflicting opinions on any number of political issues.

Even the label of "Nones" is problematic as it really does not define anything except that they are either skeptics, non-joiners, or both.

However I would feel comfortable in saying that they are very likely a group that responds better to a candidate who is intelligent, articulate, and contemplative while approaching difficulty decisions. In other words somebody just like President Obama.

Having said that I am quite thrilled that this group is growing and having a positive impact on the world of politics.


  1. Boscoe7:22 AM

    As much as I'd love to agree with you, (and I do believe it has *some* merit)the cynical part of my brain just keeps telling me that this data likely indicates how the human persona goes from feeling rebellious and indestructible in youth, to desperately latching onto religion to give it all some meaning as their inevitable death gets closer.

    'Cause as we all know, there's nothing like a battlefield, prison sentence, or impending death to inspire the finding of god...

    1. Anonymous8:46 AM

      Well, my parents who are in their 70s haven't succumbed. I know quite a few people who have gotten farther and farther away from religion and (in some cases) the belief in any god at all as they go through middle age.

      I think it's insulting to areligious people to suggest that they will somehow come to Jesus (or whatever) at tough times in their lives.

  2. Anonymous8:52 AM

    this data likely indicates how the human persona goes from … to …

    The way to test that hypothesis is to compare this 2012 snapshot with the corresponding younger age groups for 2007, 2002, 1997, etc. That is, see how the self-identifications of each cohort evolve as it ages.

  3. I've gotten less religious with age. When I was a child, I believed as my parents did. I went to church because I was made to go. Once I lived on my own, I stoppped going and eventually, through research and reading, concluded that I no longer believed in God at all. I know I'm not the only one.


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