Trump's Favorability Among White Christians Falls in Double Digits, Particularly in Counties Hit Hardest by Coronavirus, Poll Says

The percentage of Americans who view President Donald Trump favorably has only slightly declined since his mid-March all-time highs heading into the coronavirus lockdown, but he has been hit considerably among one key demographic: white evangelical Christians--according to polling data released Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

Forty-three percent of Americans surveyed over the past few weeks hold mostly or very favorable views of Trump--down about six percent from the 49 percent high he received in mid-March, which was his best rating at any point since 2015.

And while most of the president's numbers have remained more or less steady since the U.S. outbreak of COVID-19, Trump has seen a sharp drop in support from counties where coronavirus cases are higher than the national average. Among white Christians, Trump saw a significant double-digit drop in support between March and April.

PRRI's study also found that people of all demographics in counties that were hit the hardest by COVID-19 are 10 percent less likely to have a favorable view of Trump. White Christians in counties that have recorded higher than average coronavirus cases are 13 percent less likely to rate Trump favorably than their counterparts in overwhelmingly rural counties which saw fewer effects.

Measuring by religious affiliation, Trump held the support of 77 percent of white evangelical Protestants in March 2020, up 13 percent from his 2019 ratings. But that number has since fallen back down to 66 percent at the close of April. Among white mainline Protestants, Trump's share of favorable ratings fell 18 percent from 62 percent in March to 44 percent in April.

Among religiously unaffiliated Americans, the president's favorability has changed very little since 2019.

Overall, PRRI data shows that a 54 percent majority of U.S. adults hold mostly or very unfavorable views of Trump's presidency. In mid-March, just as the White House Coronavirus Task Force was issuing social distancing guidelines to states across the country, Trump hit his highest ever rating at 49 percent. The period marked the first time in PRRI polling in which a larger share of Americans expressed a favorable view than the 46 percent who held an unfavorable view.

PRRI also noted that the president "benefited from a brief 'rally around the flag' effect as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in the U.S." Additionally, Democrats are about 11 percent more likely to live in counties that recorded coronavirus cases above the national average.

In contrast to the declining ratings from his white Christian base over the past six weeks, Trump's favorable ratings in terms of party affiliation have not changed much at all during the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, 90 percent of Republicans say they have a favorable view of the president, up 11 percent from his 2019 GOP ratings around March. Among Democrats, the president's favorability is at 13 percent, just shy of the 15 percent who had a favorable view of him in 2019.

trump white christian support coronavirus
President Trump saw a double-digit drop in support among White Christians since coronavirus pandemic measures began in mid-March, most notably from counties which recorded higher-than-average COVID-19 cases. GEORGE WOOD/ STRINGER/Getty Images

His current 43 percent rating is much closer to the 40 percent who held favorable ratings of him in February, just after he was acquitted of two impeachment charges.

A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year found a majority of Americans don't view Trump as a particularly religious person, although he has previously identified himself as a Protestant.