Buddhist political leanings in the American Presidential Race 2016

Buddhist political leanings in the American Presidential Race 2016 February 29, 2016

Last Thursday I created a short survey to gauge Buddhist political leanings in this year’s US Presidential race. As of today at noon MST the poll has closed and the results are in.

First, a couple caveats about the poll and data collected.

  1. The poll is non-scientific. It is a voluntary online survey. It is entirely in English. It was posted on this site and promoted through facebook and twitter. So those who filled it out are likely to be followers/readers of this blog and its associated social media. While I’ve made efforts to broaden the perspectives represented here, we should not be surprised that the data reflects a largely white, male, middle class readership.
  2. The poll was initially created on SurveyMonkey, which is an excellent site. However, it allows only 100 responses and very little export-access to the data, so the poll was quickly moved over to google forms, where an additional 269 submissions were gathered. The poll questions were identical, but certain breakdowns in data cannot be made as one would have desired (e.g. isolating for all female respondents or all responses from persons making under $50,000/year).
  3. The questions followed SurveyMonkey’s suggestions for demographic information. I only included currently running Republican and Democratic candidates on the poll, with an option for other. Any question could be skipped.

On to the data.

First a summary of categories that were easily combined.

Age. With 350 responses:

  • <18: 3
  • 18-29: 50
  • 30-44: 76
  • 45-59: 118
  • 60+: 113

Gender. With 351 responses:

  • Female: 128
  • Male: 228
  • Other: 5

Household income (see below).

Religious affiliation (multiple selections possible). 362 Responses.

  • Protestantism: 10
  • Catholicism: 7
  • Christianity: 26
  • Judaism: 11
  • Islam: 2
  • Buddhism: 343
  • Hinduism: 6
  • Native American: 4
  • Inter/Non-denominational: 7
  • No religion: 28
  • Other: 32

If Buddhist, what type/school of Buddhism do you follow (select all that apply). 360 Responses.

  • Theravada: 75
  • Chan/Zen/Seon:  172
  • Pure Land: 14
  • Humanistic Buddhism: 37
  • Vajrayana: 63
  • Secular: 39
  • Jodo Shinshu (Buddhist Churches of America): 16
  • Soka Gakkai: 2
  • Other (please specify): 30

Did you vote in the 2012 presidential election, or not?

  • Yes: 228
  • No: 36
  • Not sure: 1

Do you plan to vote in the 2016 presidential election, or not?

  • Yes: 230
  • No: 22
  • Not sure: 13

Which presidential candidate do you most support today? (357 responses – options were randomized in the poll):

  • Hillary Clinton: 86
  • Bernie Sanders: 232
  • Donald Trump: 5
  • Ted Cruz: 5
  • Marco Rubio: 7
  • Ben Carson: 2
  • John Kasich: 2
  • Other: 18


As we can see, the overwhelming support – 65% of the total – goes to Bernie Sanders. Below is the chart from the GoogleForm:

presidential poll 2016 february

  • In the SurveyMonkey answers, Bernie Sanders got 63 votes out of 92 responses, for a total of 68.5%. Hillary Clinton received 21 votes or 22.8%.

I’ve just downloaded the GoogleForm data, which accounts for 269 of the 369 submissions. While early submissions (from the SurveyMonkey) are thus lost, it is hoped that their is no major statistical difference overall between the two sets of data. I will use that data in an excel spreadsheet to provide further analysis (here – forthcoming).

Further data from SurveyMonkey:

SurveyMonkey 1 age


SurveyMonkey 4 income

SurveyMonkey 6 religion

SurveyMonkey 7 Buddhism



"its almost as if yoga can't be associated with hinduism, it's like a taboo for ..."

Can Western Appropriation of Buddhism, Mindfulness, ..."
"Very informative Article. i am Buddhist follower and i loved to read it.Thank you so ..."

A Buddhist Story for Troubled Times: ..."
"I also live on Lamma and my feelings echo yours - HK doesn't feel as ..."

Yes, Hong Kong is still Safe. ..."
"Thanks my friend! Very kind of you to mention. Yes I definitely hope we can ..."

Doug’s Secular Dharma to offer online ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment