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Alabama Evangelicals and Elections

TUESDAY, DEC 05, 2017

On December 12th, Alabamans will elect a new senator to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. As our historical election maps show, Alabama has been a historically red state, with exclusively Republican senators for the past 20 years. The following map depicts the most recent senatorial election results from 2016.  (Scroll over shaded areas to see votes by county.)

The nation’s attention is on this upcoming Special Election because it could close the party gap in the Senate and controversy has rocked the race. Nine women have accused Republican candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault and child molestation from the 1970s to 1991. 

Ten_Commandments_monument_in_AlabamaRoy Moore has denied the allegations and continues to lean heavily on his Evangelical background, which has also permeated his public comments and work as a judge. He sought to make “homosexual conduct” immoral and tried to enforce the state's ban on same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court had legalized it. He suggested that 9/11 was a punishment for America's declining religiosity. He also called Islam a “false religion.” He campaigned on bringing religion into law when he was elected as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama (2001-2003 and 2012-2016), and installed a 5,280 pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the court building, which was later removed for violating the First Amendment after a federal lawsuit. (See photo of monument at left.)

Take a closer look at Alabama’s religious composition using Social Explorer’s maps and reports. While the Census Bureau does not survey religion, the Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS) offers a detailed breakdown of religions by group, sorted by major religions, as well as down to specific congregations. This data is available in both our maps and reports from 1980 to 2010.

A deeper examination of the 2010 RCMS data shows that Alabama residents are more religious than the rest of the US, especially where Moore lives.

In Alabama, Evangelical Protestants are the most popular denomination (42.0 percent of the population), which is more than two and a half times the rate nationwide (16.2 percent).

Learn more about Alabama’s Evangelical Protestant population in the following map:

Moore is a native of Gadsden, a city located in Etowah County, AL. Etowah County is one of the most religious parts of Alabama, with four out of five people belonging to a faith. Most of them are Evangelical Protestants--61.6 percent of the population. Moore is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the most popular Evangelical denomination in Etowah County.

According to the latest polls, Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones now leads by a slight margin, but the race remains very competitive. While some Republican leaders have disavowed Moore after the sexual assault and child molestation allegations, Trump recently endorsed the candidate, emphasizing the importance of getting a Republican into office. The Republican National Committee has also restored support and funding for the candidate. Alabama is a deeply conservative and religious state, but could it elect a Democrat?

Explore our election maps and demographic data to find out more about Alabama and other places.

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