WASHINGTON (BP) — Support for President Donald Trump has slipped by single digits among white Christians of all religious affiliations, although 78 percent of white evangelical Protestants still plan to vote for him in November, according to Pew Research Center polling.
Support among white evangelical Protestants is down from 83 percent in the poll conducted after the Sept. 29 presidential debate and during Trump’s bout with COVID-19. Trump’s support has slipped by higher percentages among white Catholics and white non-evangelical Protestants since the previous Pew poll conducted in late July and early August, but he still leads in both groups.
Democratic challenger Joe Biden continues to hold a double-digit lead over Trump among all registered voters, including advantages among Black Protestants (90 percent), Hispanic Catholics of any race (67 percent), Jewish people (70 percent), those describing their religion as “nothing in particular” (62 percent) and atheists/agnostics (83 percent), according to the survey.
Biden leads Trump 52 percent to 42 percent among all registered voters, while Trump leads Biden 54 percent to 41 percent among all Protestants, according to the survey.
A LifeWay Research poll of Protestant pastors in the U.S., released Oct. 13, showed 53 percent of pastors plan to vote for Trump, compared to 21 percent for Biden and 22 percent that were undecided. About 4 percent of Protestant pastors supported a different candidate.
In the Pew poll, Biden did not pick up all voters who left Trump’s camp. The survey noted that the distinction might be because the most recent poll included options to choose Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. With the two names added to the poll, six percent of candidates chose Jorgensen, Hawkins, or another candidate, compared to 2 percent who chose “other” two months earlier.
Trump’s support among white Catholics dropped to 52 percent, down 7 percentage points from 59 percent in August. During the same period, Biden’s support among white Catholics increased 4 percentage points to 44 percent in October. Similarly, support for Trump among white Protestants who describe themselves as non-evangelical dropped from 59 percent to 53 percent; but Biden’s support climbed only 3 percentage points to 43 percent.
Biden has the support of 17 percent of white evangelical Protestants, almost unchanged from 16 percent two months ago.
Trump’s support among Black Protestants jumped from 5 percent to 9 percent, dropped from 37 percent to 27 percent among Jewish people, and dropped from 33 percent to 26 percent among Hispanic Catholics. His support remained steady in the “nothing in particular” group at 31 percent, and among atheists/agnostics at 11 percent.
Pew describes white Christians as a key segment of the electorate, comprising about 44 percent of registered voters. The religiously unaffiliated comprise 28 percent of registered voters, Black Protestants are 7 percent, 5 percent are Hispanic Catholics, and 2 percent are Jewish.
Pew’s latest numbers are based on an online poll conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 5 among 10,543 registered voters who are members of Pew’s American Trends Panel (ATP). Pew describes the ATP as open to nearly all U.S. adults, and “weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories.”
Pew’s findings track with longstanding party affiliation demarcations.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ senior writer.