When Americans vote for their president, they use lots of questions to figure out who to pick. Does this guy seem like a jerk? Does he represent my interests? Would I want to have a beer with him—and seriously, does it really have to be a "him" again? But as citizens stroke their chins at the ballot box, one question seems to be particularly powerful:
What does this guy think about the existential nature of the universe?
That's what new Pew data about American attitudes towards presidential candidates suggests. More than 1,500 people were asked how much they care about a candidate's faith, military service, sexuality, and age, among other things. While religious affiliation seems to matter somewhat, belief matters a lot more.
Of all the surveyed groups, evangelical Christians were by far the most likely to care whether their commander-in-chief practices the same faith as them—roughly 58 percent. About a quarter of Catholics said they'd be more likely to vote for a candidate who belongs to the Church. But among all groups—Protestant, Catholic, white evangelical, and even people who don't identify with a particular faith—many said they'd be less likely to support a candidate who doesn't believe in God.