19 per cent. That’s the proportion of respondents to the latest Pew poll who say they identify as Republicans, an all-time low. It’s also Pew’s 2012 estimate of the proportion of the US population who describe their religious affilation as “atheist”, “agnostic”, or “nothing in particular”, or in the current shorthand, “Nones”.
These results need to be qualified in lots of ways (see over fold). But they still suggest that the ground is shifting against the kind of Christianist politics long exemplified by the Repubs.
The two main qualifications are
- Self-described atheists are a minority within a minority, still a mere 2.4 per cent of the population. People who are “nothing in particular” are unlikely to respond positively to Christianist appeals, but won’t necessarily react with hostility
- The sharp recent decline (during 2013) in self-identified Republicans mostly involves a shift to “Republican-leaning”. I’d interpret this as people who are unimpressed by the antics of the Republican party, but haven’t changed their general political views as a result. The total proportion of Republicans+leaners has been much more stable, though the current 38-47 split with the Dems is near the bottom of the historical range