Vast Majority of White Catholics, Evangelicals Support Trump Over Biden: Polls

White evangelicals and white Catholics still overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden, even though both groups have slightly pushed back from Trump in the past three months.

Trump holds a 12-point advantage over Biden among white Catholics, 50 percent versus 38 percent, despite the Democratic presidential candidate being a white Catholic himself, a new Data for Progress tracking poll finds. Several surveys of voters released during the coronavirus pandemic and the George Floyd protests revealed that white evangelical support for Trump dropped by about 10 points - but pollsters and political analysts say an overwhelming majority of the group will come out in support of the Republican Party candidate on November 3.

Eastern Illinois University associate professor and pastor Dr. Ryan Burge told Newsweek Tuesday he believes the double-digit decline in white evangelical support for Trump between May and June was a "blip." Trump will still win at least 75 percent of their vote this year, he maintains. Trump pulled in 75.8 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016.

Despite another election cycle effort by the news media to portray white Christians as walking away from the Republican Party, Burge says, they aren't going anywhere.

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Citing the evangelical vote tracking poll of 3,100 Americans released earlier this month, the pollster acknowledged Trump lost 10 percent of white evangelicals just days after he posed in front of St. John's Church in Washington amid racial injustice protests. But Burge said white Catholics and white evangelicals will still be Republicans on election day. As Newsweek reported in May, white evangelical support for the president fell by double digits amid the coronavirus pandemic. But in contrast to that drop, there has been almost no change among white Catholics.

In April, 52 percent of white Catholics surveyed by Burge said they support Trump, compared to 36 percent for Biden and 7 percent saying they are unsure. About 50 percent of white Catholics surveyed in June said they still support Trump. However, both numbers are down from the 59.7 percent of white Catholics who backed Trump in a November 2018 poll conducted by Burge.

The EIU associate professor told Newsweek the "white" part of both Christian constituencies is more likely the reason behind each group's overwhelming support for Trump - rather than the religious aspect.

"The 'God gap' has gotten so big that the Democrats are essentially a coalition of nones [non-religious people] and racial minorities, while the GOP is 90 percent white or Christian," Burge said Tuesday, adding that the news media tries every election cycle to claim white evangelicals will walk away from the Republican Party. Burge noted that politics has now become the first lens through which people see the world, and religion has fallen to second.

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"Trump's evangelical support did soften," he acknowledged. "But white evangelicals are still Republicans."

In a widely cited essay on race, religion and political alignment, writer Adam Harris said the GOP's "racial resentment" politics has kept the party's largely white and religious base on their side for years. Other political analysts posit that Christians have long chosen to support the Republican Party for a another major factor outside of race: abortion.

A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year found that only 35 percent of Americans think Trump is even "somewhat religious," compared to 46 percent who said the same of Biden. Trump has previously self-identified as a "Presbyterian Protestant," while Biden is a practicing Catholic.

Burge told Newsweek that white evangelicals are unimportant compared to white Catholics, who may support Biden just enough to put him over the top in states like Pennsylvania.

white evangelicals catholics support trump
White evangelicals and white Catholics still overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden even though both groups have slightly pushed back from Trump in the past three months. SAUL LOEB / Staff/Getty Images
Vast Majority of White Catholics, Evangelicals Support Trump Over Biden: Polls | Politics