Steve Sailer broke down the national share of the vote Romney got in 2012 among Whites, by religious self-identification:
From Reuters’ poll of 40,000+ voters, let’s look at Romney’s share of the two party vote among white people by different religious self-identifications:
Other Protestant 75%
All Whites 58%
Other Religion 51%
The apparent lackluster support for Romney among Episcopalians had many commenters speculating about why that would be. Before we “put the cart before the horse” too much, I wrote: “It would be interesting to run this analysis limited to one region or one state, to offset the effects of regionalism“. By this I meant that Episcopalians’ apparent pro-Obama stance may be an artifact of their being heavily-drawn from the liberal Northeast.
Using the same source Sailer uses, which is this, I produced one attempt at such a ‘control’ analysis, above. I limited the analysis to eight contiguous and somewhat-similar states: the six states of New England, along with New York, and New Jersey. (Note that this uses a slightly different methodology than Sailer uses — he cuts third-party votes out of the analysis — [Romney-%]/([Obama-%]+[Romney-%]). I did not omit third-party votes: Mine are the share of votes out of all votes cast. To discount third-party voters, add a point to each of the Romney-vote figures for the various racial-religious groups Northeast).
Commentary and Analysis
Nonwhite Bloc Voting, Again
In these eight states, only 12% of Nonwhites voted for Romney, according to the Reuters exit poll, against 87% for Obama. The Nonwhite vote in these states was a suffocating 71-to-10 for Obama. Nationally, the Nonwhite vote was ‘only’ 5-to-1 for Obama.
Episcopalians for Obama
Among all religiously-identified White subgroups polled by Reuters in the Northeast, only the Episcopalians clearly favored Obama. More on this later.
“Other Religions” For Obama
Who were these “Other Religion” Whites? They were five to six percent of the entire voting public (or one 1 of every 13 Whites), and they favored Obama by about as much as Jews did. Is “Other Religion” largely a code for “spiritual, but not religious“? That is my best guess.
The Outnumbered White-American Core
Romney got only 45% of the White vote in the Northeast, and lost New York’s and every New England state’s White vote (see map). We think of the Northeast as very liberal, but we can actually see that if one removes Jews, “Other Religions”, and self-declared Atheists from the White count, Romney wins even the liberal Northeast’s White vote. With those groups attached, the White vote in those states is depressed to only 45%. Steve Sailer is right, this election was about Core-America vs. Fringe-America. What happens when the fringe outnumbers the core?
Is the Northeast Only 21% White-Protestant?!
The Northeast, the cradle of Yankee culture, had ~16.5 million votes cast, and only 21.3% were cast by self-identified White-Protestants, according to the Reuters exit poll. Can it really be that White-Protestants are outnumbered by others by a hefty 37-to-10 margin in the Northeast? Four things suggest to me that this exit-poll may undercount White-Protestants: (1) Our bizarre electoral college system disincentivizes voting in ‘solid blue’ and ‘solid red’ states. Many non-politically-involved conservative Whites in places like Massachusetts may simply abstain from voting, because “there is just no point”; we all know to whom Massachusetts’ electoral votes would go to before the campaign even began — This kind of thinking may affect Northeast conservatives (heavily White-Protestants) more than others; (2) There has been much discussion about how many Whites stayed home on election day. Whatever the source of this apathy, it must have affected White-Protestants (the core of the Republican party) more than other Whites. (3) Catholics tend to identify with their church even when they are totally irreligious, hence the phrase “lapsed Catholic”. Who’s ever heard of a “lapsed Lutheran”, for example? — So this figure of 32% of voters in the Northeast being “Catholic” suggests to me that this is pretty comprehensive, and includes a great portion even of the White “cultural Catholics”. If you forced the 12% of “No Religion” Whites to choose a church, and forced the 5-6% of “Other-Religion” Whites to choose a church, a great majority would probably end up identifying as one kind or another of Protestant. This, alone, would add 10 to 15 percentage points to the White-Protestant population share. (4) Persons of mixed religious background are less likely to identify as Protestants in the Northeast — because Protestantism is less-dynamic, and is sort of a cultural whipping boy: Either White-Protestants are the aloof ultra-rich, or redneck creationists somewhere down south. If a Northeasterner has three Colonial-Yankee-ancestry great-grandparents (of Protestant affiliation) and five Catholic Ellis-Island ancestors, nine times out of ten the person will identify as a Catholic, but his/her ancestral stock is actually 37.5% Yankee-Protestant! We can say that, culturally, being a White-Protestant is a “recessive trait”. So, if we are interested in overall ancestral-stock (rather than current identification), we’d have to bump up the White-Protestant figure a few points to account for that. — These four factors lead me to believe that the true ‘White-Protestant’ figure, if they self-identified the way Catholics and Jews do, would be over 30% in the Northeast today, maybe in the neighborhood of 35% or possibly even reaching 40%. Less among the young.
Baptists and Lutherans
Romney had his strongest support in the Northeast among Baptists and Lutherans, neither of which is associated with the Northeast in the popular imagination. Lutherans, especially, were much more pro-Romney in the Northeast than in the USA as a whole. (They were only two points above the USA’s overall White average in Sailer’s analysis, but Northeast-Lutherans were +13 above the Northeast-White average). Why? I am not sure.
Finally, in answer to my original question: In Sailer’s analysis, Episcopalians were three points below the White average, nationally. In the Northeast, though, their vote-share is equal to the White average. (Both are 45%). Some of the “Liberal Episcopalian” thing is attributable to region, then. Episcopalians are heavily northeastern — but in the Northeast itself, they are no more liberal than the typical White. / Still, clearly the Episcopalians are more liberal than other White churchgoers. Former Episcopalian Anti-Gnostic says that the Episcopal Church “is currently tearing itself apart between orthodox Christianity and unitarian-universalism”, as can be seen in the endorsement of openly-gay/“practicing homosexuals” serving as priests in their church as of a few years ago. This kind of leftward move must incentivize liberal elements to stay in the church and conservatives to leave.