Americans don’t believe that the Democratic candidates for president are a particularly religious group, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of the top contenders: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg (who has since dropped out). Conducted last month, the survey included the top Democrats in polling averages at the time. It did not ask about Mike Bloomberg or Tulsi Gabbard.
About 60% of Americans see Sanders as “not too” or “not at all” religious. Just a third say he’s at least “somewhat” religious, including only 4% who say he is “very” religious. Sanders is attempting to become the first Jewish candidate to win the Democratic nominee. He has said he is “not actively involved with organized religion” but that being Jewish has shaped his values.
Public opinion also leans more toward the view that Warren is not very religious. About half say the self-identified Methodist is “not too” or “not at all” religious, while 36% say she is at least somewhat religious.
Biden is the only candidate considered at least “somewhat” religious by more than half of U.S. adults (55%), though just 9% say he is “very” religious.
DEMOCRATS DRIFT FROM CHRISTIANITY
While some Democrats are highly religious the party as a whole is increasingly unaffiliated in recent years. The share of Democrats and Democratic leaners who identify as Christian declined by 17 percentage points between 2009 and 2019 (from 72% to 55%), according to Pew polls, while the share who are religiously unaffiliated jumped by 14 points, from 20% to 34%.