Religious beliefs and political affiliation are strongly linked among whites, but not so much for minority groups, a new survey from Gallup finds.
The poll, based on daily tracking interviews conducted between January and May with a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point, found 62 percent of "very religious" whites identified as Republican or independent with a Republican lean. About 28 percent of religious whites said they were Democrats. Approximately 51 percent of nonreligious whites considered themselves Democrats; 33 percent said they were Republican.
Asians, Hispanics, and blacks, regardless of religion, were more likely to identify as Democrats than Republicans. However, the percentage point difference between political leanings among "very religious" Asian Americans was only 14 points – with 48 percent identifying as Democrats and 34 percent identifying as Republican. Very religious Hispanic Americans are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats by 20 percentage points. Nonreligious Hispanics are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats by a 36-point margin.
Judson Berger writes at Fox News:
Much has been made about whether evangelical Christians could support a Mormon presidential candidate like Mitt Romney in the GOP primary. But a recent Gallup pollshows Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to oppose a Mormon for president.
The survey suggests a candidate like Romney would have at least as tough a time overcoming voter anxiety in a general election as he would in the race for his party's nomination. And, analysts say, the numbers underscore the lingering trouble Mormons are having gaining national and bipartisan acceptance as a product of their concentration in just a handful of states.
"Mormons ... still fall into that kind of category of the other, the unknown," said Laura Olson, a political science professor at Clemson University who has written extensively about the intersection of religion and politics.