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Elections, Religion

Illuminating America: Religion and the 2016 Election – Some Denominations Related to the Election and Some Not, But All Significantly Different for Red-Blue Counties

The headline: Analysis of 18 religious denominations and groupings from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB; 2010 census) shows significant differences and insights for the 2016 election. Specifically, the variable “Church of Christ” enters our Illuminating America list in sixth place above the variable “Federal Spending” but below “White Teen Birth” (table below).

Illuminating America (1/2/2019)

Key Talking points (see table below for details):

  • All Religious denominations (e.g., “Church of the Nazarene”) and groupings (e.g., “Mainline Protestants”) have significantly different “adherent rates” (adherents per 1,000 population) for Republican and Democrat counties at the 99%+ level apart from “Non-denominational” (94% confidence), “Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” (98%), and “Church of the Latter-day Saints” (98%).
  • Even though all denominations and groups are significantly different for Red and Blue counties, there is no significant difference between Republican and Democrat counties for all religious adherents (row 19 in the table below).
  • Democrat counties have a higher “adherent rate” than Republican counties, though not with statistical confidence (also row 19 in the table below).
  • Some denominations/groups have a strong correlation with the 2016 election result (e.g., “Church of Christ”, “Church of the Nazarene”, and “Southern Baptist Convention”) and some do not (e.g., “Seventh-day Adventist Church”, “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, “Mainline Protestant”).
  • Most denominations/groups have higher adherent rates in Republican counties (notable examples include “Southern Baptist Convention”, “Evangelical”, and “United Methodist Church”), with major exceptions including “Catholic, “Other”, and “Episcopal.”
  • The data includes the 18 denominations and groups from the ASARB census (and a 19th category of “All” religious adherents) that have data in at least 50% of US counties. The only non-Christian group in this list is “Baha’i.”
“Illuminating America” Table (Religion only)

The chart:

  • X-axis: county-level Church of Christ adherents (adherents per 1,000 population).
  • Y-axis: county-level 2016 Trump vote (percent).
  • Bubble size: proportional to total county population.
  • Bubble color: state-level election result (red = Trump state, blue = Clinton state).

The data: Religion data were sourced from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) for the 2010 census1. All individual and grouped religions from the ASARB database with data in at least 50% of counties are included. Election data were collected and compiled by Charted Territory.

  1. http://www.usreligioncensus.org/

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