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Atheists Take Heart (and Office): New Poll Shows Major Support for Nonreligious Candidates

Dec 12, 2018

By Jennifer Bardi

In a nation that consistently ranks atheists near the bottom of the “feeling thermometer,” identifying as a nonreligious or humanist candidate has traditionally been seen as a “bad” political move. But a new poll shows there’s virtually no political cost for elected officials to identify as a member of the humanist community.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners* over the course of the midterm elections, measured any loss of support experienced by politicians who identified as atheist; the intensity of any loss of support; and how constituency played a role in that data. The results are heartening to humanists, atheists, agnostics, and other nonreligious people who hold—or hope to hold—public office, as well as to communities that value a political field that’s truly representative of the religious diversity of the United States.

Among registered Democrats who are pro-choice and pro-marriage-equality, fully 74 percent say that a candidate being nonreligious or agnostic would make no difference in their vote, and 72 percent say a candidate’s atheism would not affect their vote. More than three-quarters of all voters are more likely than not to vote for a candidate who stood for most of the things they believed in and was nonreligious. Perhaps among the most surprising details of the report: Voters across party lines view a lack of religious faith as insignificant as long as the voter agrees with the candidate on most issues.

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