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Democrats who identify as Christians tend to prefer Joe Biden in presidential poll

Faith is an important factor in political preferences, with the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians supporting the Republican Party. Religious affiliation also is a factor in preferences among Democrats for their primary presidential candidates, according to a new study.

On the whole, among registered voters who identify with or lean toward the Democrat Party, Protestants and Catholics are most likely to name Joe Biden as their first choice, according to a national survey that Pew Research Center conducted in January. The survey was conducted as the campaign season began in earnest with the Iowa caucuses held on Feb. 3 and the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11.

READ: Column defends believers that support President Trump

No candidate has majority support from any of the large religious groups, and many voters still say they are undecided or decline to name a favorite. Among black Protestant Democratic voters, for example, 44 percent name Biden as their first choice — four times the share of any other candidate — but 30 percent remain undecided or give other responses indicating uncertainty in their vote choice.

READ: Democrat candidate Warren hostile to faith

The Democrat primary has two candidates who, if they win the general election, would make history by becoming the country’s first Jewish president  — Sanders (though Sanders is not a practicing Jew) and Michael Bloomberg. But just one in five Jewish voters say they currently prefer Sanders (11 percent) or Bloomberg (8 percent) as the Democrat nominee, compared with 31 percent who name Biden, 20 percent who prefer Warren, 13 percent who name Pete Buttigieg and 11 percent who are undecided, refuse to answer the question or give some other response

Taking a very early look ahead to November’s general election, the survey also asked registered voters across the political spectrum to predict their vote, whether it would be for Donald Trump or the yet-to-be-determined Democratic nominee. Similar to other recent elections, most white evangelical Protestants say they will definitely (59 percent) or probably (17 percent) vote for Trump, and just 14 percent say they will probably or definitely vote for the Democrat. White Protestant voters who do not identify as born again or evangelical also are more likely than not to say they will vote for Trump in November.

These preferences largely reflect the political party affiliations of members of each religious group. For example, most white evangelical Protestants identify as Republicans, and Republicans overwhelmingly support Trump. Among white evangelical voters who identify with or lean toward the GOP, 68 percent say they will definitely vote for Trump in November and another 19 percent say they will probably do so.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice