Republicans should be more worried about appealing to Nones than to Latinos. That's the message of PRRI'S stunning new graphic showing how the respective religious coalitions of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on election day relates to the religious demography of age groups in the U.S.
It's hard to argue with the headline: “The End of the White Christian Strategy.” White Christians–evangelicals, mainliners, and Catholics–made up fully seventy-five of Romney's coalition but only 38 percent of Obama's. It's the age distribution, however, that tells the deeper story.
Romney's coalition most closely matches the over-65 crowd, only older. It's whiter and less religiously diverse than seniors are. Call it your great-grandfather's Oldsmobile.
By contrast, Obama's coalition fits snugly in between the youth cohort of 18-to-29-year-old Millennials and the 30-49-year-old Gen-Xers. It's unsurprisingly overrepresented among African-Americans and a little light on evangelicals and “other Christians,” but generally presents a fair picture of where America's religious layout is headed in the coming decades.
What's most striking is how evangelicals and Nones change places through the four age cohorts. From old to young, the evangelicals go 30-25-18-9, while the Nones go 9-14-19-32. Romney's coalition was composed of 37 percent evangelicals and eight percent Nones. Obama's coalition had 9 percent evangelicals and 23 percent Nones.
If I were a Republican, that would scare the hell out of me.