Atheists, Agnostics Prefer Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pew Finds

Michael Foust | Contributor | Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Atheists, Agnostics Prefer Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pew Finds

Atheists, Agnostics Prefer Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pew Finds

Atheists and agnostics who identify as Democrat prefer Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, while Christians who vote Democrat favor Joe Biden, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. 

The poll of 12,638 Americans found that Sanders and Warren lead among self-identified atheists who vote Democrat with 30 and 29 percent respectively, with Biden in third place at 12 percent. Among agnostics, Sanders leads with 36 percent, followed by Warren (23 percent) and Biden (16 percent). 

The survey’s results were based on registered voters who are Democrat or lean Democrat. 

Biden, though, leads the Democratic field among all Christian traditions. For example:

  • Biden leads among white evangelicals with 37 percent of the vote to Warren’s 14 percent and Sanders’ 12 percent.
  • Biden leads among Catholics with 34 percent to Sanders’ 18 percent and Warren’s 10 percent.
  • Biden leads among black Protestants with 44 percent to Sanders’ 11 percent and Warren’s 7 percent.
  • Biden also tops the field among Jewish voters (31 percent to Warren’s 20 percent, Pete Buttigieg’s 13 percent and Sanders’ 11 percent).

The survey was released on Jan. 31.

“As Democratic presidential candidates campaign to win their party’s nomination, there is still some uncertainty about how voters from various religious groups will cast their ballots,” an analysis from Pew said. “No candidate has majority support from any of the large religious groups, and many voters still say they are undecided or decline to name a favorite.”

Pew also surveyed all registered voters (Republican, Democrat and Independent) about their preference for November, asking them if they’d support President Trump or a generic Democratic candidate. Trump draws the support of 75 percent of white evangelicals and 54 percent of white Catholics. The generic Democratic candidate has the support of 79 percent of black Protestants, 61 percent of Jewish voters and 81 percent of atheists. Among white Protestants who are not evangelical, Trump leads, 50-36 percent. 


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael Ciaglo/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.