The nation’s non-Christians – whether of another religion or no religion – are far more likely to support President Barack Obama than American Christians, according to an extensive Gallup survey taken over the last six months.
Obama, himself a Protestant, gets his highest support from Muslims, and least support from three Christian groups, Catholics, Protestants and Mormons, says the poll taken of 88,000 Americans over the first six months of 2014.
No Christian group has an approval rating of more than 50 percent for Obama, while non-Christian populations are the only ones who provide a higher than 50 percent approval rating for the president. That is significant to Obama’s overall approval of 43 percent, since half the country identifies itself as Protestant, and about a quarter identifies itself as Catholic.
The poll showing 72 percent support from Muslims comes as a recent reports show that the Obama administration’s National Security Agency specifically targeted at least five American Muslims for surveillance, based on information provided by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden. The targeted muslims include activists Hooshang Amirahmadi, a Rutgers University professor and president of the American Iranian Council, and Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Obama has the least support, 18 percent, among Mormons.
In 2012, Obama defeated the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major party. Though another prominent Mormon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), has supported Obama on nearly every agenda item.
The second largest category of support for Obama comes from “other non-Christians.” This is a category that would not include Jews, Muslims or people of no faith, which has a 59 percent approval rating for Obama.
Although Obama has been dogged by questions about his commitment to Israel, his support among Jewish voters still stands at 55 percent.
The category of no religion/atheists approved of Obama’s job by 54 percent. While that’s a decisive majority, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the generalizations of atheists as overwhelmingly progressives on politics.
Also noteworthy, the highest support for Obama among Christians – 44 percent – comes from Catholics.
This comes after several dioceses have sued the Obama administration regarding the Health and Human Services mandate that employers pay for their employees coverage of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, a matter that was settled by a Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The Catholic Church as an institution is also strongly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, while Obama strongly supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also criticized the Obama administration’s plan to deport some of the unaccompanied minors from Central America.
Support among Protestants drops to 37 percent for Obama. Protestants vary widely from very conservative to very liberal denominations and several in between. Evangelicals are generally conservative on the bulk of political issues. But the churches called mainline Protestants such as United Church of Christ and Presbyterians are more liberal.
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