The Denver Post‘s Karen Crummy has a series of articles (here, here, here, here, and here) showing why Obama may do better than his Democratic predecessors in a number of Western states (Montana, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico). But among the various factors she looks into, the prevalence of religious categories favorable to the Democrats eludes her attention. Key in Montana, Colorado, and Nevada are the high rates of the religiously unaffiliated (respectively 53 percent, 55 percent, and 61 percent, according to the North American Religion Atlas). The national average is 40 percent. New Mexico is below the average, at 37 percent, but makes up for it by its large number of heavily Democratic Latino Catholics. (Catholics weigh in at 37 percent in NM, as compared to the high teens for the other three states.) At the risk of sounding like a GetReligionista, I will permit myself this whine: Religious affiliation rates really do need to be on journalistic radar screens this year.