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WHITE EVANGELICALS OUTLIERS ON NEARLY EVERY ISSUE OF CONCERN TO U.S. VOTERS

A new poll finds that white evangelicals, are outliers on nearly every issue of concern to the American public. The Public Religion Research Institute’s 11th annual American Values Survey surveyed a random sample of 2,538 adults asking for their thoughts on topics related to issues of concern facing the country ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Respondents were broken down by political party as well as religious affiliation and race. The religious subgroups included in the survey were white evangelical Protestants, white mainline Protestants, white Catholics, black Protestants, Hispanic Protestants, other Christians, non-Christians and the religiously unaffiliated. The survey asked respondents what they saw as the top three critical issues facing the country.

Coronavirus was in the top three issues of concern for all religious groups, except for white evangelicals. Among that group, 63% of respondents cited abortion as their most critical issue, followed by the fairness of presidential elections (62%) and terrorism (57%). Only 35% of white evangelical Protestants see coronavirus as a critical issue. Just 22% of white evangelical Protestants believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Besides Hispanic Protestants, 48% of whom believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a majority of respondents in all other religious groups think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. On the issue of LGBTQ rights, white evangelical Protestants once again find themselves at odds with their counterparts in other religious groups.

Thirty-four percent of white evangelical Protestants believe that same-sex couples should be able to marry while 63% do not. A majority of the other religious groups support same-sex marriage.  When asked about gender roles, 53% of white evangelicals believe that society punishes men for being men and 56% believe that American society has become too feminine. No other religious group had a majority who felt the same way. White evangelical Protestants are the only group (59%) that believes the country is moving in the right direction, compared to 40% of white mainline Protestants, 39% of white Catholics, 40% of Hispanic Protestants, 28% of Hispanic Catholics, 26% of other Christians, 24% of non-Christians, 18% of religiously unaffiliated Americans and 15% of black Protestants.

Just 36% of white evangelicals believe that President Donald Trump has damaged the dignity of the presidency.  However, a majority of white evangelicals (55%) say that they wish Trump behaved like his predecessors and 28% of white evangelicals believe that the U.S. does not set a good example for other countries. White evangelical Protestants have a much higher approval rating of Trump compared to their counterparts with 76% of them approving of Trump’s job performance. Majorities of Hispanic Protestants (57%) and white mainline Protestants (52%) approve of Trump’s job performance while 49% of white Catholics expressed approval for the president. Support is much lower for the president among other Christians (42%), non-Christians (30%), Hispanic Catholics (27%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (23%) and black Protestants (15%).

While majorities of all other religious groups believe that the coronavirus outbreak could have been controlled better, just 44% of white evangelical Protestants agree. Among the American public as a whole, 69% believe that the outbreak could have been controlled better. White evangelicals, who comprised 26% of the American electorate in the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN exit polling, backed Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 5-1 margin. While a poll conducted by PRRI earlier this year showed Trump’s support slipping with this group, a Pew study found that 82% of white evangelicals plan to support Trump’s re-election bid despite any misgivings they may have about him.

Source: Christian Post