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Religions et élections présidentielles aux États-Unis

Religions and the presidential elections in the United States

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Publié le lundi 25 juillet 2016 par Elsa Zotian


Les prochaines élections présidentielles aux États-Unis sont-elles en train de changer durablement les rapports de force et les clivages du vote américain ? Parmi les paramètres bien connus de ce vote, l'appartenance et la pratique religieuse combinées à l'origine ethnique ont jusqu'à présent fonctionné selon des critères bien établis. L'électorat blanc le plus religieux y compris catholique votait pour les Républicains, l'électorat hispanique et noir y compris évangélique votait pour les Démocrates, l'électorat juif et musulman, quelle que soit sa tendance religieuse, votait pour les Démocrates tout autant que les sans-religions. Or, les derniers sondages sur la question prouvent que les intentions de vote ont largement glisssé face au profil des candidats en lice et que des recompositions inattendues se dessinent. Le vote « religieux » peut-il demain être le « game changer » de ces élections ?



Catholics have long been an important force in American electoral politics even if they make up 21% of the American population. Could they be, compared to the other religious denominations, the game changer of the next elections ? Once a vital and loyal component of the New Deal Democratic coalition, Catholics in recent decades have shifted their political loyalties away from the Democratic Party to more of a partisan equilibium. Anglo-Catholics were strongly Democratic in the 1940's, with that partisanship reaching a peak in the Kennedy election of 1960, before receding significantly thereafter. By 2012, they were almost evenly distributed on the political spectrum;the historical Democratic advantage had disappeared. In comparison, their Latino brethren have exhibited strong Democratic tendencies over the past three decades, and their growing number suggest rising political importance.

At the same time, by 2012, the White Catholic vote had become predominantly Republican, even in a year in which a Democrat was re-elected to the White House, and on balance party identification among these voters showed a slight Republican edge. Only the growing contingent of Latino Catholics kept the national vote of the entire religious community closely balanced. Latino Protestants, a growing segment of the Latino community, are more likely to vote Republican than their Catholic compatriots, giving George W. Bush over 60% of their vote in 2014, before reverting to majorities for Obama in 2008 and 2012, perhaps in response to GOP policy on immigration.

Despite widespread agreement among scholars that the partisan behavior of Catholics has changed, there is much less consensus on the nature of that change, its permanence, and its causes. Of course, Catholic transformations must be put in the larger context of the changing partisanship of other religious groups. The partisan equilibrium among White Catholics has now been matched by mainline Protestants, as the later have abandoned their ancient Republican preferences. At the same time, Evangelical Protestants have shifted from Democratic to overwhelmingly Republican attachments, while Black Protestants became almost monolithically Democratic. In addition, the unaffiliated or secular population has recently become more important because of its increased size and Democratic propensities. Smaller ethnoreligious groups exhibit varied patterns : Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) are strongly Republican, Latino Protestants are notably less Democratic than Latino Catholics, while Jews and "other" religions (Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, for example) still align with the Democrats.

This symposium will review the historical patterns of Catholic partisanship and voting behavior, as well as those of the other denominations, discuss major perspectives on electoral change (Republican shift, Hispanic and Asian vote, interreligious alliances) and test there perspectives with the latest survey data. Of course, the unexpected choice of Donald Trump as the Republican Party candidate will be a key issue of the debate.


22th September

Institut d’Etudes Politiques d’Aix-en-Provence, Amphithéâtre Cassin, 25 rue Gaston de Saporta

14:00 Opening Remarks

  • Rostane Mehdi, Director, Sciences Po-Aix
  • Hervé Isar, Vice-President, Aix-Marseille Université, Director, LID2MS, Aix-en-Provence School of Law and Political Sciences (FDSP)
  • Gilles Leydier, Deputy-Director, BABEL, Université de Toulon

14:15 Keynote Speeches

  • Vincent Michelot, Sciences Po-Lyon, Triangle, “The Religious Vote in the Age of Micro Targeting: Obsolete or Strategic?”
  • Gerald Fogarty, University of Virginia, “Can the Holy See Influence the Outcome of American Presidential Elections?”

15:15 Break

15:45 Panel I: The Catholic Vote

Chairman: Florian Michel, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Institut Pierre Renouvin et SIRICE

Moderator: Guy Scoffoni, Sciences Po-Aix, CHERPA

  • Douglas W. Kmiec, U.S. Ambassador (ret.), Pepperdine University, “Who Am I to Judge?” Francis trumps the Bishops and Simultaneously Makes “The Catholic Vote” Disappear and More Important.
  • Mark J. Rozell, Dean, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, “The Catholic Vote as an Obvious Key Vote”

16:45 Break

17:00 - 18:30 Debate on Some Other Denominations and Ethnic Communities


  • Jean-Marc Chouraqui, Aix-Marseille Université, Director, IECJ and
  • Laurent Sermet, Sciences-Po Aix, CHERPA
  • Olivier Richomme, Université Lyon2, Triangle : Hispanic Vote
  • Dominique Cadinot, Aix-Marseille Université, LERMA : Muslim Vote
  • Mokhtar Ben Barka, Université de Valenciennes, CALHISTE : Evangelical Vote
  • Laura Hobson-Faure, Université Paris 3, CREW : Jewish Vote

23th September

Faculté de Droit d’Aix-en-Provence, Salle des Actes, 3 avenue Robert Schuman

8:45 Welcoming Coffee

9:15 Opening Remarks

  • Jean-Philippe Agresti, Vice-Dean for General Affairs, Faculté de Droit et de Science Politique (FDSP), Aix-en-Provence School of Law and Political Sciences
  • Hervé Isar, Vice-President, Aix-Marseille Université, Director, LID2MS, (FDSP)
  • Gilles Leydier, Deputy-Director, BABEL, Université de Toulon

9:30 Panel II: The Catholic Influence on the Political Debate

Chairman: Dominique Avon, Université du Maine, CERHIO

Moderator: Bernadette Rigal-Cellard, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, CLIMAS

  • Amandine Barb, Humboldt University Berlin, “Catholic Patterns in the American Left”
  • Blandine Chelini-Pont, Aix-Marseille Université, LID2MS , “Catholic Colonization of the Republican Elites” 
  • Marie Gayte, Université de Toulon, BABEL, “From Strict Separatism to Public Interventionism:  The Other Catholic Shift”

10:45 Break

11:00 - 12:30 Debate on Interreligious Political Strategies

Moderator: Gregory Mose, Sciences-Po Aix, CHERPA

  • Carter Charles, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, CLIMAS
  • Jeremy Gunn, Université internationale de Rabat
  • Neil J. Young, Independent Scholar

12:30 - 13:00 Conclusion

  • Nathalie Caron, Université Paris-Sorbonne, HDEA

13:00 Buffet lunch

Steering Committee

  • Marie Gayte (Université de Toulon, Babel),
  • Blandine Chelini-Pont (Aix-Marseille Université, LID2MS),
  • Florian Michel (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, SIRICE et Institut Pierre Renouvin),
  • Bernadette Rigal-Cellard (Université Bordeaux Montaigne, CLIMAS),
  • Dominique Avon (Université du Maine, CERHIO), Nathalie Caron (Université Paris-Sorbonne, HDEA)


  • Amphithéâtre Cassin | Salle des Actes - Science Po Aix 25, rue Gastion de Saporta | Faculté de Droit et de Science Politique 3, avenue Robert Schuman le 23/09
    Aix-en-Provence, France (13100)


  • jeudi 22 septembre 2016
  • vendredi 23 septembre 2016


  • élections présidentielles, partis politiques, Démocrates, Républicains


  • Blandine Chelini-Pont
    courriel : blandine [dot] chelini-pont [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

Source de l'information

  • Blandine Chelini-Pont
    courriel : blandine [dot] chelini-pont [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

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« Religions et élections présidentielles aux États-Unis », Colloque, Calenda, Publié le lundi 25 juillet 2016,

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