Barack Obama won the least religious states in the union, while the more religious states tended to favor John McCain. This may not be a huge revelation, but the numbers are still interesting, especially for the exceptions to these general rules.
Gallup released a survey recently in which it asked respondents how important religion is in their daily lives. The answers illustrated precisely how diverse a country we are in terms of strength of religious belief, from Mississippi (85 percent) to Vermont (42 percent).
Matching the data with the 2008 election results, we find that McCain won 16 of the 20 most religious states. The exceptions were North Carolina (tied for seventh most religious, at 76 percent saying that religion plays a role in their daily lives), Missouri, Virginia, and Indiana (all tied for 15th most religious at 68 percent saying that religion plays a role in their daily lives).
McCain won five of the remaining 30 states, including: Idaho and Arizona (tied for 30th most religious, with 61 percent in each state saying that religion plays an important daily role in their life); Wyoming (36th most religious state, at 58 percent); and Montana (tied with New York as the 40th most religious state at 56 percent). And could the least religious state which McCain won, the fifth least religious state in the union, really be that conservative bedrock, home of the devout Sarah Palin—Alaska? You betcha. (Fifty-one percent of Alaskans said that religion plays an important role in their daily lives.)
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