Voters warm to candidates who are not religious

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump holds up a copy of the Bible he said his mother gave him as a youth during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a copy of the Bible he said his mother gave him as a youth during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, December 29, 2015. REUTERS/Lane Hickenbottom

Source: Religious News Service

(RNS) On the growing list of ways the “outsiders” election of 2016 is upsetting conventional political wisdom, here’s a new entry:

A contender’s lack of strong faith is not the deal breaker it once was for voters, according to a survey released Wednesday (Jan. 27).

The “Religion and Politics” survey by Pew Research even finds Americans have a kinder view of atheists as potential presidential timber than before. The share of Americans who said they’d be less likely to vote for an atheist is down from 61 percent in August 2007 to 51 percent in the new survey.

“Religion, by and large, remains an asset for potential political candidates,” said Greg Smith, associate director of research and an author of the Pew report. “Far more people say they’d be less likely to vote for a hypothetical candidate who doesn’t believe in God than would vote for one that does.”

Yet they’re much less concerned that candidates mirror their own personal religious convictions.

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