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Breaking Down the Evangelical Vote

11-08-2016
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The evangelical vote is expected to be split more than usual in Tuesday's presidential election.

Christianity Today explored why the evangelical voting block is so much more divided this year compared to previous elections by compiling what they believe are the top 10 stats explaining the evangelical vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Surveys that study evangelicals based on their beliefs and actions:

LifeWay Research finds that 45 percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs plan to vote for Trump, 31 percent for Clinton and 23 percent for a third-party or undecided.

A Reuters survey finds that 48 percent of Americans who worship weekly plan to vote for Trump, 34 percent for Clinton and 14 percent for a third-party or not at all.

The Barna Group Finds that 4 in 10 evangelicals are reluctant to vote for either Trump or Clinton. 

Surveys that study how evangelicals by race/ethnicity plan to vote:

LifeWay Research finds that 65 percent of white Americans with evangelical beliefs plan to vote for Trump while only 10 percent plan to vote for Clinton. African/Hispanic/Asian American voters sway towards Clinton, 62 percent, with only 15 percent planning to vote for Trump.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 47 percent of Hispanic evangelicals support Clinton while 34 percent support Trump.

Surveys that study how evangelical pastors plan to vote:

A majority of evangelical pastors are undecided on who they will vote for, but according to LifeWay Research, 38 percent say they will vote for Trump and only 9 percent plan to vote for Clinton.

Those most likely to vote for Donald Trump are Pentecostal pastors (61%), Church of Christ pastors (50%) and Baptist pastors (46%).

Those most likely to vote for Hillary Clinton include Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (50%) and Methodist pastors (44%).

Fifty-nine percent of evangelical pastors believe that Christians who vote their conscience will not all vote for the same candidate, while 63 percent believe that Christians are not obligated to vote for a candidate who has a reasonable chance at winning.

Surveys that study the Empathy Gap: 

LifeWay Research reports that 47 percent of Protestants who support Clinton say they "have a hard time respecting" Trump supporters, while 42 percent of Protestants who support Trump find it hard to respect Clinton supporters.

Fifty-eight percent of all Clinton supporters say they "have a hard time respecting" Trump supporters, while, 40 percent of all Trump supporters find it hard to respect Clinton supporters.

Surveys that study politics and bedfellows: 

A majority of self-identified white evangelicals say they have not argued with their spouse about the election according to Pew Research Center, with 75 percent voting for the same presidential candidate.   Among those who are voting for the same presidential candidate, 76 percent attend church weekly. However 69 percent of couples who rarely attend church are doing likewise.

Surveys that study voting for Trump vs. against Clinton:

According to the Barna Group, 38 percent of white evangelicals who plan to vote for trump say their vote is for Trump, 57 percent say their vote is against Clinton.

Among white evangelicals voting for Clinton, 35 percent say their vote is for Clinton, 59 percent say their vote is against Trump.

Surveys that study how evangelicals feel about Trump:

Forty-one percent of all white evangelicals say Trump is "a good role model," 55 percent say he is "hard to like," 67 percent say he is honest and 58 percent say he is well-qualified.

For comparison, among black Protestants (according to Pew Research Center two-thrids of whom are evangelicals):

Eight percent say Trump is a good role model, 77 percent say he is hard to like, 5 percent say he's honest and 6 percent feel he is well qualified.

Surveys that study whether Trump's morality matters to evangelicals: 

In 2011, Christianity Today asked if marital infidelity should disqualify a candidate for public office, white evangelicals are the religious group that has most significantly shifted in their opinion since then. 

Back in 2011, 30 percent said yes it should, in 2016, 72 percent agreed that it should.

Pew Research found that 51 percent of all white evangelicals say Trump is moral, 12 percent of black protestants agree.

Surveys that question if Trump's faith matter to evangelicals:

A Pew Research Center survey found that 83 percent of white evangelicals want their presidential candidate to share their religious beliefs, 72 percent of black Protestants say the same.

Only 15 percent of born-again Christians view Trump as "authentically Christian," according to Barna Group. Thirteen percent feel Clinton is authentically Christian and 48 percent said neither one is.

Surveys that study what issues matter most to evangelicals:

Evangelical pastors are most concerned about the personal character of the next president (27%) and the Supreme Court nominations the next president will choose (20%) while the people in their pews are most concerned with improving the economy (26%) and national security (22%), according to a LifeWay Research survey.

Only four percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs chose abortion as the issue that mattered most.
 

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