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.
Among blacks, however, only 9 to 10 percent identified as Republican -- regardless of religious beliefs.
Historically, very religious Americans have leaned right in politics. Religious whites remain one of the most reliable votes for Republicans come election time. But the growing Hispanic and Asian communities could change things. Though Hispanics and Asians currently tend to vote Democratic, Gallup pollsters say very religious Hispanic and Asian Americans could be vulnerable to Republican efforts in future elections.