Donald Trump Praying at Cabinet Meeting" by the White House / Public Domain

White Evangelicals See Trump as Fighting for Their Beliefs, Though Many Have Mixed Feelings About His Personal Conduct

Mar 12, 2020

By the Pew Research Center

Heading into the 2020 election season, a new Pew Research Center survey delves into the relationship between religion and politics, including perceptions about President Donald Trump among white evangelical Protestants, a key part of his electoral base. It finds that white evangelicals largely see Trump as fighting for their beliefs and advancing their interests, and they feel their side generally has been winning recently on political matters important to them. But when it comes to Trump’s personal qualities and conduct, many express mixed feelings. Even among this strongly supportive constituency, most do not view Trump as a very religious, honest or morally upstanding person (though many white evangelicals say he is somewhat religious, fairly honest or fairly morally upstanding).

More broadly, the survey finds that U.S. adults prize a president who lives a moral and ethical life more than they care about having one who is religious. More than six-in-ten Americans say it is “very important” to them to have a president who personally lives a moral and ethical life. By comparison, just one-in-five say it is very important for a president to have strong religious beliefs, and even fewer respondents think it is vital for the president to share their own religious beliefs.

On the whole, Americans care more about having a president who stands up for their religious beliefs than having one who personally shares those beliefs. Roughly seven-in-ten say it is either very (38%) or somewhat (31%) important to have a president who stands up for people with their religious beliefs.

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