"Donald Trump Coronavirus Briefing" by the White House / Public Domain

Behind Trump’s demand to reopen churches: Slipping poll numbers and alarm inside his campaign

May 26, 2020

By Gabby Orr

A sudden shift in support for Donald Trump among religious conservatives is triggering alarm bells inside his reelection campaign, where top aides have long banked on expanding the president’s evangelical base as a key part of their strategy for victory this November.

The anxiety over Trump’s standing with the Christian right surfaced after a pair of surveys by reputable outfits earlier this month found waning confidence in the administration’s coronavirus response among key religious groups, with a staggering decline in the president’s favorability among white evangelicals and white Catholics. Both are crucial constituencies that supported Trump by wide margins in 2016 and could sink his reelection prospects if their turnout shrinks this fall.

The polls paint a bleak picture for Trump, who has counted on broadening his religious support by at least a few percentage points to compensate for weakened appeal with women and suburban populations. One GOP official said the dip in the president’s evangelical support also appeared in internal party polling, but disputed the notion that it had caused panic. Another person close to the campaign described an April survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, which showed a double-digit decline in Trump’s favorability among white evangelicals (-11), white Catholics (-12) and white mainline protestants (-18) from the previous month, as “pretty concerning.”

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4 comments on “Behind Trump’s demand to reopen churches: Slipping poll numbers and alarm inside his campaign

  • President Disinfectant will lose the popular-vote but secure the Electoral College, again. I’m betting it’s an eight-year-long rather than a four-year-long episode of the Twilight Zone.


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  • President Disinfectant will lose the popular-vote but secure the Electoral College, again. I’m betting it’s an eight-year-long rather than a four-year-long episode of the Twilight Zone.

    Well that’s depressing.


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  • 3
    Cairsley says:

    Come, come, Dave137, it is too early to make such a defeatist prediction, certainly too early to give up hope of removing the presidential incumbent and depriving the Republicans of control of the Senate (though this latter will be more difficult but equally important) in November. Your fears are reasonable, but there are also grounds for reasonable people to remain hopeful, at least of a presidential defeat, if polling figures are anything to go by. I am not sure how effective a campaigner Joe Biden will be, but he cannot be as utterly self-defeating as Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom was last year. Keep your hope up while there is still hope. Another four years under the current President is not something I would want to see the United States undergo, not only for that country’s own sake but also for the viability of liberal democracy and the values and achievements of the Enlightenment in the wider world. There is much at stake and everything for Americans proud of their constitutional heritage to fight for.


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