By Daniel Cox and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
Democrats are once again doubling down on religion this year. Faith was on full display during the Democratic National Convention, where Joe Biden closed out the week with several pointed references to his Catholic faith. And the Biden campaign is also making an ambitious play for white evangelical Protestants and Mormons, two loyal Republican groups where Democrats hope to make some inroads.
Often lost in this, though, is the fact that Democrats are mostly ignoring a massive group of voters who are becoming an increasingly crucial part of their base: people who don’t have any religion at all.
Right now, voters with no religious affiliation look like they might back Biden in record numbers. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in early August, 72 percent of nonreligious voters — a group that includes people who identify as atheists, agnostics and nothing in particular — are planning to support Biden. That’s 4 percentage points higher than the 68 percent who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. And that’s a big deal, because despite being frequently overlooked, nonreligious people make up a sizable part of the electorate. An analysis of validated voters by Pew found that religiously unaffiliated voters accounted for one-quarter of the electorate in 2016, and 30 percent in 2018.
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