“I don’t see any politician wooing the secular vote, at this point,” Gaylor says. “They’re all happy to get our money, but our time has not come yet. But it will, because, I think: Ignore our numbers at your peril.”

Youngblood says part of nones’ skittishness could be the Republican party’s ties with the religious Right. “If the Republicans want to be competitive in this voting bloc, they’re going to need to change the way that they’re doing things as far as the amount of sway that the religious Right now has within the party.” Regardless of how much influence conservative evangelicals have on the GOP’s legislative agenda, the party’s leaders should work to show that it’s not a religiously homogeneous group…

Here’s the good news: The GOP’s outreach to other minority groups might have unexpected payoffs among the “nones.” Pew notes that the recent increase in the number of nones “has been concentrated in one group: whites.” But if racial and ethnic diversity are important to white nones, the GOP will make itself more congenial to them if it succeeds in drawing more black, Hispanic, Asian-American, and young female voters. No demographic is an island, as it were.

“Is the Democratic party welcoming of atheists? You know, I don’t know what the answer to that is,” says Gaylord.