...as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term. They're the "nones" — that's the Pew Research Center's shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don't have a specific religious affiliation. Some are agnostic, some atheist, but more than half define themselves as either "religious" or "spiritual but not religious..."More at the link, including this -
Their overwhelming support of Obama proved crucial in a number of swing states where the president lost both the Catholic and Protestant vote by single and low-double digits, but won the "nones" by capturing 70-plus percent of their votes...
Selzer tells us that in her last Iowa poll before Election Day, data she had compiled for the Des Moines Register showed that Obama was losing to GOP nominee Mitt Romney among both Protestant and Catholic voters. Those voters make up 88 percent of the state's electorate, yet her final numbers still had Obama leading Romney by 5 percentage points... What Selzer found was that though her polling showed Romney leading among Catholics by 14 points and among Protestants by 6 points, Obama was winning the "nones" by a 52-point margin...
— In Ohio, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 3 points and the Catholic vote by 11, but he won the "nones" — 12 percent of the state's electorate — by 47 points.
— In Virginia, Obama lost Protestants by 9 points and Catholics by 10 points, but won 76 percent of the "nones," who were 10 percent of the electorate.
— In Florida, Obama lost Protestants by 16 points and Catholics by 5 points, but captured 72 percent of the "nones." They were 15 percent of the electorate.
Similar results were seen in states including Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
He cautions, however, against conflating the "nones" with nonbelievers. "Those two things are not the same," Smith says. The "nones' are certainly less religious than those who say they belong to a religious group, but many are also believers." The absence of a connection to an organized religion is not the same as the absence of a religious belief or practice," he says.