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Diversity In Religion Distinguishes Non-Republican States From Republican States

The big news in American culture this last week was the release of a report on America’s religious landscape by the Pew Research Center. The study shows that the number of Americans who identify themselves as Christian is shrinking in all 50 states. The United States is becoming a more diverse nation in terms of attitudes about religion, with large numbers of Americans embracing alternatives to Christianity, religious and non-religious.

Of course, not every place in the USA is equally diverse. While some places are on the verge of genuine pluralism, others, especially in the South, remain dominated by Christianity.

The impact of these differences can be seen in American political life. Looking at the state-by-state results from the Pew study, a clear pattern emerges. Those states that have low religious diversity tend to elect more Republicans to Congress. As the chart below shows, states that have two Republican U.S. senators have, on average, 10 percent fewer non-Christian residents than states that have two Democratic U.S. Senators.

average religious diversity and us senate

The scatter plot below shows the details behind these averages. Each blue circle represents one state. Though there is some overlap, the general tend is clear. States that elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate tend to have smaller populations of non-Christian residents, relative to their size – though even in those states, diversity is increasing.

scatter plot of religious diversity and politics in the united states

4 thoughts on “Diversity In Religion Distinguishes Non-Republican States From Republican States”

  1. Ella says:

    So, are you saying that the Socialists are anti-Christ? I mean Democrats. It would seem the divide really has become obvious and thank you for documenting it. And the current President has not demonstrate an overly warm relationship with Israel either.

  2. J Clifford says:

    Ella, you are equating non-Christian with “anti-Christ”.

    You are also lumping together Democrats with Socialists.

    Further, you are confusing states having more non-Christians, but still Christian majorities, with Democrats (“the Socialsts”) being anti-Christ.

    Can you see how there are some big leaps of logic in your short comment?

  3. Stephen Kent Gray says:

    Can you specify Vermont and Maine as while they have no GOP Senators, they don’t have two Democrat Senators, but rather one Independent?

    Also, based on Presidential wins from 1992-2012, I have a list of Blue Wall and Red Wall states as well as states that lean either way.

    Swing
    Arkansas
    Colorado
    Florida
    Kentucky
    Louisiana
    Missouri
    Nevada
    Ohio
    Tennessee
    Virginia
    West Virginia

    Leans Blue
    Iowa
    New Hampshire
    New Mexico

    Solid Blue
    California
    Connecticut
    Delaware
    Hawaii
    Illinois
    Maine
    Maryland
    Massachusetts
    Michigan
    Minnesota
    New Jersey
    New York
    Oregon
    Pennsylvania
    Rhodes Island
    Vermont
    Washington
    Wisconsin

    Leans Red
    Arizona
    Georgia
    Indiana
    Montana
    North Carolina

    Solid Red
    Alabama
    Alaska
    Idaho
    Kansas
    Mississippi
    Nebraska
    North Dakota
    Oklahoma
    South Carolina
    South Dakota
    Texas
    Utah
    Wyoming

    Deep states are states that went that same way for 6 out of the 6 electione. Leaning states went the same way for 4 or 5 electione out of the 6. Swing states went 3 and 3 evenly divided. Ross Perot did win 20% in 1992 and 10% in 1996 which makes the electoral maps from those elections weird looking in retrospect. I would also like to see a religion diversity chart with my lists of states above referenced.

    The Blue Wall of Deep Blue and Leans Blue states gives the Democrat nominee (Hillary Clinton probably) a distinct electoral college advantage.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_party_officeholders_in_the_United_States

    It would be interesting if there was more info on independents and third parties.

    1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

      Vermont has a Democrat and an Indepedent while Maine has a Republican and an Independent. My earlier comment had it wrong by implying Maine was just like Vermont.

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