Is America Ready For An Atheist In The Oval Office?

May 20, 2019

Is America ready for an atheist president?

Is America ready for an atheist president?; Credit: ericsphotography


The latest batch of 2020 presidential candidates is more diverse in race, gender and sexuality than in the past — but there’s one demographic that’s not represented: atheists.

In his latest column for the Washington Post, Max Boot argues that it’s time for an atheist in the Oval Office.

Americans who identify with no religion are the quickest growing demographic in the U.S. And according to a recent Gallup poll, 60% of Americans say they would vote for an atheist presidential candidate. And yet there are no atheist candidates on the field, and even the non-religious Bernie Sanders has said that he is “spiritual.”

Is there a meaningful difference for people between the vaguely spiritual, like Bernie, and an avowed atheist? How does a candidates’ religion, or lack thereof, play among different demographics of voters?


Dan Schnur, professor of political communications at USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine; founder of the USC / Los Angeles Times statewide political poll

Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush

Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist and founder and chief executive officer of Rodriguez Strategies. He is also a former senior Obama advisor in 2008; he tweets @RodStrategies

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