By Daniel Schultz
Donald Trump is losing the 2020 election, but you’d hardly know it by looking at the latest survey of various religious groups by PRRI (and by “various religious groups,” I really mean “mostly white Christians”).
PRRI says that 66% of white evangelicals look favorably on Pres. Trump, as do 44% of white mainline Protestants and 48% of white Catholics. By comparison, only 36% of nonwhite Protestants and 37% of religiously unaffiliated think highly of the president. To be clear, PRRI’s question is about the president’s favorability—“Do you like Donald Trump?“—as opposed to the more usual polling question, “Do you approve of Pres. Trump’s job performance?” It’s a slightly different way to ask about opinions, but as CNN’s Harry Enten argues, favorability scores are actually more predictive of election results than approval ratings. (Trump’s approval ratings aren’t great, either.)
Overall, Trump isn’t a very well-liked president: 54% have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 43% do like him. (By comparison, Obama’s numbers at about the same point in his presidency were nearly reversed: 52% favorable, 46% unfavorable.) Trump got a brief boost at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but now his support seems to be recessing to mean. Alarmingly for him, that means an 11-point drop in white evangelical support, and an astonishing 18-point drop among white mainliners.
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