Voting on the Secular in the United States

by | May 14, 2019

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

World Religion News reported on some recent Gallup poll information. In that, the electability of an atheist for the presidency of the United States of America or the most powerful position in the world for decades has been a concern for many secular Americans and secular people around the world in general.

This seems like front-of-mind fact for many secular people, as many of you know or may have discussed throughout personal and professional lives – and in reading about some of the dynamics of the perceptions of atheists, freethinkers, and the like.

In the recent Gallup poll, apparently, this longstanding disappointment in the social and political conceptualizations of the secular has shifted to a modestly more favorable position, where this becomes a record high in the United States, within the general public of the warmer place to the adjacent-south.

As reported, “…in 2012… over half of those polled said they were okay with an atheist being in influential American politician. In 2015, atheism became downgraded as being the of the worst traits in any presidential candidate. Atheists became second worst from the absolute worst.”

A tick upward, that’s not bad and not great. A socialist president became the worst possible candidate amongst those polled in terms of perceptions. This was a static last-place placement for socialist circa 2019.

The interesting data came in the work around the possibility of a secular president in the United States. An atheist president was seen as a more legitimate possibility and candidate within the nation. Again, not as a dramatic increase, however, a rise to a record number at 60%.

“The “atheist ” U.S. President received a slight push up to 60 percent of Americans say they have no problem if the presidential candidate is an atheist,” the World Religion News stated, “It continues to be the second last on the electability list but with one big difference: there is no stigma now. The Gallup poll shows that Americans are now much more comfortable with an increasingly diverse candidate group.”

Many atheists do not care much for religion or non-religion in politics, as in an apathetic position about it. However, for those with an explicit and attentive intrigue about the entire affair, they may find this a heartwarming trend and positive sign of greater equality for individuals identifying with a major secular label in North America.

Following from the minor caveat from before, the central point is the rise in political acceptability of the atheist position. There is the justification of the smallest rise happening within the atheist categorization compared to other identifications. The larger narrative is a widening of the diverse landscape in which Americans accept the political representation in the country encapsulating all of this.

Even with the rise of the atheists within the acceptability of public office, one issue is the ways in which the even within the rise the increase remains the lowest amongst those groups. Probably not a surprise, but, still, this seems oike a pleasant surprise with the record high number of 60%.

The article parsed the data and said, “When it comes to analyzing the atheist support base, then 71 percent of Democrats were comfortable with an atheist candidate, compared to only 42 percent of Republicans espousing similar views. Age matters too, with 72 percent of all voters below 34 years may support any openly atheist candidate while 54 percent of the 55 years or older voting population will do the same.”

Age and political orientation become two of the most important factors for if one supports the possibility of an atheist president or, at least, one might assume, an atheist presidential candidate.

As many of you already know, some research indicates individuals with higher levels of formal education tend to lean into or identify as atheists more often than not.

“It is apparent that religious identification is losing its weight in American politics as an increasing number of Americans are willing to vote for different groups. If these trends continue,” the article presaged, “then atheists will at one point of time shortly have electability equal to Jews and Catholics. The last two were once pariahs of the American public. The first poll held by Gallup in 1937 saw only 47 percent of Americans okay with a Jewish president. The figure is now 93 percent in 2019. The number of openly non-religious politicians have risen at the state level.”

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

Do not forget to look into our associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular Alliance, and Centre for Inquiry Canada.

Other Resources: Recovering From Religion.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

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