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Religion survey looks at Trump’s voter base

20 March 2020


President Trump in a meeting with African American community, business, and faith leaders at the White House on 27 February

President Trump in a meeting with African American community, business, and faith leaders at the White House on 27 February

A SURVEY on religion and politics in the United States, conducted by the Pew Research Centre in Washington, DC, examined the racial element in President Trump’s electoral base.

Among the survey’s respondents, white Evangelicals believed that their side was “winning” under President Trump, while the number of black Protestants who thought that their side was “winning” in present-day America had dropped from 43 per cent to 26 per cent since May 2016.

Published on Tuesday of last week, the findings illustrate the views of 6395 American adults, across different racial and religious groups, who were surveyed between 4 and 15 February. The questions posed ranged from whether a President should live a morally upstanding life to whether they believed that the Trump administration had had a negative impact on the country’s Muslim population.

Sixty-three per cent of white American Evangelicals questioned felt that they had made political gains in the past four years. This is a significant increase from May 2016, when only 23 per cent felt this way, rising to 36 per cent in 2018.

The survey also showed that 70 per cent of the white Evangelicals surveyed thought of the President as “self-centred”, while only one in eight saw him as a “very religious” person. About 52 per cent saw him, however, as “somewhat religious”.

In answer to a question about President Trump’s religious affiliation, about five per cent of respondents thought him to be “something else” other than Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist, while some believed that the President worshipped only “himself”, or “money and power”.

Sixty-six per cent of white Evangelicals said that there was a conflict between their beliefs and the views of mainstream society, and 53 per cent thought that Christianity’s influence was declining in the US; most blamed this on “more permissive attitudes about sexual behaviour and sexuality” in popular culture. Among respondents as a whole, most referred to growth in the US population, as well as misconduct among Christian leaders, as the reason for Christianity’s waning influence.

Fifty-six per cent of Hispanic Catholics, and seven in ten black Protestants, Jews, and those with no religious affiliation said that they thought that the President was, at least, “fairly prejudiced”. Forty-eight per cent of all those surveyed thought that President Trump had “hurt” rather than “helped” Muslims, while 43 per cent thought that he had helped Evangelical Christians more than any religious group.

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