White evangelical Christians continue to be among the biggest supporters of President Trump, according to a poll conducted last week. Overall, approval ratings have returned to previous levels before the coronavirus outbreak.
The PRRI poll approval numbers include:
- White evangelicals, 66 percent
- White Catholics, 48 percent
- White mainline Protestants, 44 percent
- Americans overall, 43 percent
When poll dynamics are adjusted to more accurately reflect the breakdown of Democrat, Republican and Independent voters, the President’s numbers are even higher. Polls typically underrepresent Republican voters while over-sampling Democrats creating a skewed result that underestimates support for the Republican president.
“The jump we saw in March was unusually high, particularly for white evangelicals,” said Natalie Jackson, research director at PRRI. “It was one of the highest favorability records we saw for Trump among that group. What we’re seeing in April is a return to where they had been previously.”
Jackson attributed the March bump to a “rally around the flag” effect, as more Americans saw Trump on TV daily responding to the virus as part of the White House briefings.
“Most people weren’t paying attention so much to what he was saying as much as they saw him out there responding,” she said. “That may be a substantial part of the rally effect. As the situation continued to get worse in many areas, that rally effect faded.”
The poll also found that white Christians in counties less affected by the coronavirus are more likely to view Trump favorably than those in more affected counties (63 percent vs. 50 percent). “There is no such difference among other religious groups,” according to the survey.
Trump’s favorability among white Christians in battleground states — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — dropped to 48 percent from 75 percent in March. Overall, the president’s approval rating in battleground states dropped from 53 percent in March to 38 percent in April.
The media has been criticized for hammering the President on every issue, rarely giving the administration credit for anything good that is happening in terms of policy ahead of the 2020 election.
Jackson said Trump’s favorability ratings likely will continue to fluctuate as the 2020 presidential election draws near. “I would be very cautious about reading these as meaning anything for the situation we’ll have in November,” she said.
Republican support for the president — now at 90 percent — typically rises before the election, though the pandemic has thrown a lot of uncertainty into the process.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice