(photo credit: REUTERS)
Seventy-eight percent of white evangelical voters say they will vote for Donald Trump in November, despite the fact that leaders in the US evangelical community have come out against him, a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June found.
Although presidential candidate Trump engaged in a public fight with Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which is the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, he still has more support from the evangelical community than Republican candidate Mitt Romney did in 2012.
During Romney’s 2012 campaign around 75% of white evangelicals said they would vote for him, with 25% saying that they strongly supported him. Of the 78% of evangelicals who said they are pro-Trump, including around a third who said they strongly support his campaign.
On June 21, Trump held a meeting in New York with hundreds of conservative Christian leaders from around the United States where he tried to gain their support.
At this meeting Trump was also filmed criticizing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s religious credibility by saying, “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion. Now, she’s been in the public eye for years and years and yet there’s no – there’s nothing out there.”
According to the Pew Research Center survey, “religious nones” – people who are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – largely support Clinton. Around 66% of religious nones say that they will vote Clinton, which mirrors their support of Barack Obama in 2012. Twenty-six percent of religious nones say that they strongly support Clinton, but 37% of them strongly supported Obama’s campaign.
During the presidential primaries the religious nones were among the strongest supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, which left many wondering if his supporters would go on to vote for Clinton. The survey found that 87% of religious nones who backed Sanders said that they will vote Clinton over Trump.
This mirrors the pattern of white evangelicals who supported other Republican candidates during the primaries, with around 90% of them saying that they support Trump over Clinton.
Although black Protestants are strongly in favor of Clinton, 50% of white mainline Protestants prefer Trump, the survey found.
Sixty-two percent of US adults surveyed said that it is important for them that their president has strong religious beliefs, which is down from 67% in 2012 and 72% in 2008.