"George W Bush Presidential Library" by Shannon McGee is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Politicians, Take Note: Secular Voters Are a Powerful, and Growing, Part of the Population

Nov 16, 2018

By Andrew L. Seidel

Given the intensity of the news cycle last week, you might have missed the biggest story of the election: the surge of the “nones.”

U.S. voters hit two important milestones in the 2018 midterm. First, Protestants were not the majority of the electorate, according to Religion News Service. Second, as white evangelical Christians, who carried Trump into office on a wave of Christian nationalism, are barely maintaining their share in the electorate, nonreligious people are gaining. “Nones”—those who self-identify as nonreligious on surveys like those conducted by the Pew Research Center—sharply increased their share of the U.S. electorate, from 11 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2018. That’s a massive, 55 percent increase.

A second, similar metric shows the same growth: The number of people in the United States who enter the voting booth but not church is also surging, from 18 percent in 2014 to 27 percent in 2018. That’s another big jump of 50 percent. Nones are also younger and the fastest-growing religious identification. That means as evangelicals age out, nones replace them in age groups that are more likely to vote.

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