Although opinions vary within religions, surveys and statistical analysis show that those affiliated with a denomination or group often cast similar votes. Sources for affiliation percentages given here are the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, and the Pew Hispanic Center.
Percentages include respondents who said they were members of the referenced party as well as those who said they leaned toward that party. References to white voters are non-Hispanic whites. Adherence numbers are for 2010 from the Association of Religious Data Archives.
White evangelical Protestants: Republican affiliation grows
218,156 adherents in the Columbus metropolitan area (includes all evangelical Protestants)
Nationwide in 2012, 71 percent consider themselves Republicans (versus 65 percent in 2008), and 22 percent consider themselves Democrats (versus 28 percent in 2008).
They make up 34 percent of Republican voters and 9 percent of Democratic voters.
Issues: The group supports religious freedom and opposes abortion, same-sex marriage and the federal health-care mandate that requires employers (including some with religious affiliations) to cover contraception. (Some conservatives consider some forms of contraception to be abortion-inducing drugs.)
"I don't think abortion on demand would continue to be the law of the land if the 38 to 40 percent of people who identify as evangelical Christians voted on this issue instead of voting their pocketbooks or voting their loyalty to the party of their family heritage or the party of their geographic heritage," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in a recent interview with SBC Life, the denomination's news journal.
216,175 adherents in the Columbus metropolitan area
White Catholics: from Democratic to Republican
Nationwide in 2012, half are Republicans (versus 41 percent in 2008) and 41 percent are Democrats (versus 49 percent in 2008).
They make up 18 percent of Republican voters and 13 percent of Democratic voters.
Nationwide in 2012, 63 percent are Democrats (versus 69 percent in 2010) and 28 percent side with the GOP (versus 19 percent in 2010).
They make up 5 percent of Democratic voters and 3 percent of Republican voters.
Issues: In an election-year letter addressed to Ohio Catholics, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, who heads the Catholic Conference of Ohio, refers to ending abortion, supporting the lives and dignity of the sick and vulnerable, safeguarding religious liberty, protecting the social institution of marriage, addressing unemployment and poverty, updating the immigration system, and promoting peace in foreign countries, especially Israel.
Many Catholics have been energized by a U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops religious-liberty campaign prompted by a federal health-care mandate that requires employer-provided insurance plans (including some religious-based companies) to pay for birth control.
White mainline Protestants:
pull toward GOP side
175,159 adherents in the Columbus metropolitan area
Nationwide n 2012, 52 percent support Republicans (versus 45 percent in 2008) and 40 percent support Democrats (versus 45 percent in 2008).
They make up 20 percent of Republican voters and 14 percent of Democratic voters.
Issues: The United Methodist Church, on its Church and Politics page, cites "a strong belief in social justice, mission and outreach ministries." Its General Board of Church and Society lists important issues on its website, including abolition of torture, stewardship of the Earth, opposition to the death penalty, support of certain abortion rights, support of human-needs programs, and providing health care and support for immigrants.
even more Democratic
20,445 adherents in the Columbus metropolitan area
Nationwide in 2012, 89 percent are Democrats (versus 78 percent in 2007), and 7 percent are Republican (versus 10 percent in 2007).
They make up 16 percent of Democratic voters and 1 percent of Republican voters.
Issues: The National Baptist Convention USA lists several on its website, including education, Medicaid and Medicare, unemployment benefits, health-care benefits, judicial injustice for minorities, student-loan interest rates, home foreclosures, middle-class tax relief and children and family services.
The convention expressed concerns about access to the vote and has partnered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a "This is My Vote" campaign. "Millions of people are hard at work to take from you and me what they didn't want you or me to have in the first place -- the right to vote," the website says.
Muslims: still Democratic
15,578 adherents (estimated) in the Columbus metropolitan area
Nationwide in 2011, 70 percent were Democrats (versus 63 percent in 2007) and 11 percent were Republicans (same as 2007).
Issues: Muslims care about economic recovery, job creation, the national debt, student loans and college tuition -- many of the same concerns as the general population, said Hannah L. Tyler of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Foreign policy -- "a lot of Muslims have family and friends living in countries that have been negatively affected by U.S. foreign-policy decisions" -- also is key, she said. And "we hope that the next president makes his commitment to religious pluralism and freedom clear, and that no one minority is singled out for cheap political points."
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons):
even more Republican
12,682 adherents in the Columbus metropolitan area
Nationwide in 2012, 79 percent are with the GOP (versus 68 percent in 2008), and 19 percent are Democrats (same as 2008).
They make up 3 percent of Republican voters and 1 percent of Democratic voters.
Issues: Mormons believe that homosexuality should be discouraged by society and that abortion is morally wrong. According to polls and analyses by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, members support smaller government and fewer services and are about evenly split on whether immigrants strengthen or burden the U.S. About 55 percent say they believe that Americans are ready to elect a Mormon president.
Jews: still Democratic, but Republicans gaining
10,001 adherents (of various denominations) in the Columbus metropolitan area
Nationwide in 2012, 66 percent are Democrats (versus 72 percent in 2008), and 28 percent are Republicans (versus 20 percent in 2008).
They make up 3 percent of Democratic voters and 1 percent of Republican voters.
Issues: For most Jewish voters, the main concern is U.S. relations with Israel, said Joyce Garver Keller, executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities. "Support for a safe and secure Israel and opposition to a nuclear Iran, which threatens that security, is No. 1 on our agenda," she said.
Also important are education, the economy and the care of at-risk populations, which include the frail and elderly (including Holocaust survivors); the poor, homeless and hungry; and people with mental illness and physical and developmental disabilities. Ohio has only about 150,000 Jews, but they vote in large numbers, Keller said.
Religiously unaffiliated: still Democratic
Nationwide in 2012, 63 percent are Democrats (versus 55 percent in 2007), 26 percent are Republicans versus 23 percent in 2007).
They make up 24 percent of Democratic voters and 11 percent of Republican voters.
Issues: Majorities of the religiously unaffiliated tend to believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, homosexuality should be accepted by society, the government is too involved in morality, stricter environmental laws are worth the cost, and the government should concentrate on problems at home versus abroad.
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