As sociologists and pollsters continue to study the interaction of faith and politics, a new poll is turning heads. More white Americans identified as born again or evangelical during the Trump administration, according to a new report by Pew Research Center.
In recent years, the media and some in the Christian community wrongly speculated that the support many evangelical leaders gave to the policies of President Donald Trump during his term would lead large numbers of Christians to ditch the evangelical label. However, more white Americans adopted the terms evangelical Protestant or born-again between 2016 and 2020. And what’s more interesting, considering negative media coverage, 7 percent more Blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color began to use the term.
The results are surprising considered what many consider a full-fledged attack on Christianity in culture, especially against those identifying as Evangelical. From late-night comedians to elected officials, academia and Hollywood elites, Evangelicals have become targets for mocking. But the attacks have not had the intended consequences.
The results may indicate that people supported the positive policy agenda of the Trump administration while separating them from some of the more negative characteristics of the President, such as what has become known as “mean tweets.”
Using Pew’s American Trends Panel, it was found that while 25 percent of white adults surveyed identified as evangelical or born-again in 2016, 29 percent identified themselves as such in 2020. The survey found that while 2 percent of surveyed white adults had stopped identifying as evangelical from 2016 to 2020, 6 percent of surveyed white adults had begun identifying as evangelical during the same time period.
Pew also found that white Americans who held a positive opinion of Trump any time between 2016 and 2020 were the most likely to adopt the evangelical label, with 16 percent starting to identify as evangelical between 2016 and 2020. Among surveyed non-white adults, Pew found that the percentage of respondents who identified as evangelical or born-again had remained basically the same between 2016 and 2020.
According to Pew, 26 percent of non-white Americans identified as born-again or evangelical Protestants in 2016, while 25 percent identified this way in 2020. Just 7 percent of non-whites surveyed had reported dropping the term, but an equal percentage reported adopting the term.
A majority of white Americans, particularly evangelicals who attend worship services regularly, voted for former Trump in 2020, while Joe Biden was the overwhelming favorite among religiously unaffiliated voters, especially among those who identify as atheists and agnostics.
The trend remains consistent with voting patterns in previous years that showed a strong correlation between high religious service attendance and support for the Republican candidate among white voters and low religious service attendance and support for the Democratic candidate. This pattern varied in strength based on religious tradition.
Studies are currently being done on faith and President Joe Biden. Biden’s approval numbers have recently tanked to numbers below that of President Trump. Polls released last week also found that Vice President Kamala Harris remains the most unpopular Vice President in modern polling history.
Biden, who identifies as a “strong” Catholic, has been criticized by the nation’s Catholic bishops for his support of abortion until birth. Americans overwhelmingly oppose that pro-choice position.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice