Atheists Ain’t Getting Elected

If you ever wanted a good source to back up the statement that atheists are the minority least likely to get elected, Data360 has some nice graphs pulling together the various Gallup poll results on the topic.

AtheistPoll

Here’s the atheist chart in depth.

Compare that chart to those of how many people would vote for a homosexual or black person, respectively:

GayPoll

BlackPoll

(via the Freakonomics blog)


[tags]atheist, atheism, president, gay, homosexual, black, data360[/tags]

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Members of minority groups of any kind who want to be elected to public office in a district, state or country where their group is a decided minority, have exactly one option, getting people not of their minority group to vote for them. May I offer an observation that has sent several well known “rationalists” to go quite nutzo when it was made before? Atheists being elected to just about any office in the country will be entirely dependent on the good will of religious believers who make up the majority of voters in all but a tiny handful of electoral districts. This is exactly the same situation that gay people and members of other small minority groups are in. And those atheists who push themselves to the mic and piss off religious people, they’re putting back the day that electoral victory will come.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    I don’t totally agree.

    I think pissing people off is not a good general strategy. But being nice and silent and not stepping on other people is how we’ve gotten walked on in the past.

    Is there any wisdom to having both a Martin Luther King AND a Malcom X?

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Now, in the gay rights struggle, we had Larry Kramer and other strident voices that I was glad to hear loud and clear.

    And we had softer voices as well. But I think the key was voices like Ellen DeGeneres, who was someone we had in our living rooms and was very unthreatening.

  • Miko

    Atheists being elected to just about any office in the country will be entirely dependent on the good will of religious believers who make up the majority of voters in all but a tiny handful of electoral districts.

    That depends on trends in the future. Belief in god seems to be dropping off in the youngest generation by about 5% per decade. Assuming that trend continues and birth and death rates aren’t wildly altered, the U.S. could be majority atheist in, say, 100 years. While I’d rather we get some people elected before then, we’re most probably not going to be a minority in the U.S. forever. And we’re already a majority or fairly close in most first-world nations.

    And those atheists who push themselves to the mic and piss off religious people, they’re putting back the day that electoral victory will come.

    They’re also bringing more people over to our side. If they weren’t, religious people wouldn’t be angered by them. Since most atheists care more about the issues than the figureheads, swelling the number of voters among our ranks is arguably much more important than building good-will for potential atheistic candidates.

  • miller

    It’s interesting to note that every single graph dips around the 2001 mark. More evidence to support a cynical worldview, huh?

  • Vincent

    Or the rise in popularity of conservatives.

  • http://dmarvin811.blogspot.com Dan

    What a skewed report! IT says that almost 50% (45%) would vote for an atheist. That is hilarious and so far off the mark.

    How many people polled you ask it was a sample of 1,006 adults, aged 18 and older

    Far from the 301,139,947 living in the US today

    Good try, who are you trying to convince, me or yourself?

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Is there any wisdom to having both a Martin Luther King AND a Malcom X?

    It was Martin Luther King who got the great Civil Right’s legislation of the 60s passed and signed into law. Malcom X had other accomplishments, some of them quite great. Who would you nominate for the “King” position in the atheist movement or the Malcom X? I wonder what they would have made of the idea. We certainly haven’t had the lesbian or gay equivalent either. This could indicate that the dynamics of the movements are not similar.

    More importantly, the legislation only allowed equal exercise of voting rights. The actual election of Black politicians in Jim Crow areas was due to redrawing districts to ensure some would stand a better likelihood of electing minority politicians. The districts, themselves, concentrated voting strength to make effective majorities. I don’t think that’s possible for atheists except in a tiny number of places. And those kinds of redistricting efforts are being destroyed by the Republicans on the court today. Those are almost certainly not available to ensure atheists are elect able in the United States. This doesn’t apply to the presidential election at all.

    The argument you sometimes hear concerning the “no religious test” clause in the Constitution also doesn’t apply because that is only enforceable against the branches of the government. There is no way to apply it to the voters. If you want atheists to be elect able you’ve got to convince an effective majority of voters that they want an atheist to represent them, they will certainly not vote for atheists if they don’t like the public faces of atheism. Malcom X, during most of his career, wasn’t interested in that kind of effort. I’m not an expert in his life but I’ve read he was coming around to something like that near the end.

    There is no substitute for friendly cooperation, forming coalitions and working together and there is a definite history to build on. The Rev. Barry Lynn is certainly one of the people most responsible for securing the rights of the non-religious in the United States, maybe the most responsible. Minority groups started turning inward away from coalitions in the late 60s and 70s and that’s when civil rights progress started to slow and eventually turn around. We’re going backwards now.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Dan hasn’t figured out how statistical sampling works.

    Poor Dan.

  • stogoe

    Obviously, Dawkins gets to be MLK (hopefully without the assassination), and Hitchens can be Malcolm X.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    stogoe, Martin Luther KIng was a great man who was courageous and had a deeply compassionate view of life. He gave his life in an effort to get justice for garbage men. Dawkins couldn’t carry King’s briefcase.

    Hitchens is more like the guys who killed Malcom X, or more like the guy who sent them to do it.

    Of course, you know that both Martin Luther King and Malcom X would have been considered dangerous religious fanatics under the current atheist fundamentalist fad. Both were ministers of religion, religion was the main focus of their lives and work.


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