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10% Would Base Their Vote On A Candidate’s Religion

Voters say overwhelmingly that they would not vote for or against a political candidate solely because of the religion he or she practices.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 10% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for or against a candidate because of the latter’s religious faith. Eighty percent (80%) would not base their vote on a candidate’s religion. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Democrats (85%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (81%) are more emphatic than Republicans (73%) about not voting solely on the basis of candidate’s faith.

Nearly one-in-five Evangelical Christians (18%) and 13% of other Protestants say they would base their vote solely on the religion a candidate practices. Just six percent (6%) of Catholics and five percent (5%) of voters of other faiths agree.

Eighty percent (80%) of Evangelical Christians and 61% of other Protestants rate a political candidate’s religious faith as at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote. For 64% of Catholics and 61% of those of other faiths, a candidate’s religion is not very important in determining their vote.

Among all voters, 51% say a candidate’s faith is at least somewhat important to their vote, with 19% who rate it Very Important. But nearly as many (48%) feel a candidate’s religion is not important to determining how they will vote, including 22% who say it is Not At All Important.

This marks a slight shift from November 2009 when 47% said a candidate’s faith was important to their vote, while 52% felt otherwise.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 28-29, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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