Biden did worse than Hillary Clinton with evangelicals in 2020, poll shows

People pray together during the 'Evangelicals for Trump' campaign event held at the King Jesus International Ministry as they await the arrival of President Donald Trump on January 03, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
People pray together during the 'Evangelicals for Trump' campaign event held at the King Jesus International Ministry as they await the arrival of President Donald Trump on January 03, 2020 in Miami, Florida. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Biden fared worse in getting white evangelical Christian voter support than the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, according to an Election Day poll sponsored by a conservative Christian grassroots organization.

The Faith & Freedom Coalition analyzed trends among evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics in the 2020 election and presented the findings on Wednesday.

According to an election survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for FFC, 81% of self-identified white evangelicals voted for President Donald Trump, while 14% voted for Biden.

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“Trump’s 81% of the evangelical vote tied his 2016 total, while Biden won the lowest share of the self-identified white evangelical vote ever received by a Democratic presidential nominee,” stated FFC in a statement after the conference, labeling it a “record turnout” of evangelicals.

“The post-election survey commissioned by FFC and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies also found that 31% of the electorate self-identified as conservative Christians, and these voters cast 87% of their ballots for Trump and only 11% for Biden.”

FFC founder and Chairman Ralph Reed told The Christian Post that despite the Democratic candidate’s extensive outreach, he believes evangelicals mostly rejected Biden because they “are driven by principles,” “values” and “specific public policy positions,” not “partisanship” or “personality.”

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, speaks at a Zoom webinar press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.
Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, speaks at a Zoom webinar press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. | Screengrab: Zoom Webinar

Reed contrasted the pro-life actions of the Trump administration with Biden’s pro-choice record, including his recent decision to oppose the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of elective abortions, after years of supporting it.

“Look at the other issues,” said Reed. “Religious freedom. When the Little Sisters of the Poor decision was announced by the Supreme Court, Joe Biden released a statement and said if he were elected president, he would re-impose those regulations — regulations that by a 7-2 margin, the Supreme Court had just ruled were unconstitutional.”

Biden's 14% among white evangelicals in the Public Opinion Strategies poll comes as Clinton received 16% of white evangelical support in 2016 exit polls. 

“Issue after issue, he was the most hard-left nominee they had ever nominated, on issues that burn in the hearts and give meaning to the souls of tens of millions of people of faith and Donald Trump took positions that they believed advanced the moral good," Reed stressed. 

Reed conceded that while “they threw some money at” serious evangelical outreach, “it not only didn’t work, they actually did worse than Hillary Clinton did.”

As part of his remarks at the conference, Reed touted the success of the coalition's “get out the vote” campaign, calling it “the most ambitious, effective grassroots voter education get-out-the-vote effort directed to voters of faith.”

“We knocked on 5,226,247 doors. That is five times what we did four years ago,” said Reed. “This all took place basically within 75 days of the election.”

“We made over 10 million get-out-the-vote calls, we placed digital ads for at least 50.2 million evangelical Christian voters on their Facebook page or other digital sites that they were on … we also sent out tens of millions of get-out-the-vote text messages that included a link to our voter guide.”

Reed noted that evangelical voters comprised 27% of the electorate, which was a 1% increase from the 2016 election, saying that the evangelical vote went from approximately 35.6 million in 2016 to approximately 43.2 million in 2020.

The findings of the FFC report contrast with other analyses of exit polls, including a report by The New York Times, which placed white evangelical and born-again voter support for the president at 76%, or a drop of 4% compared to 2016, and 23% for Biden.

When asked by a reporter about the exit polls, Reed said he believes it “was not as accurate as ours” as they did extensive survey work, especially in battleground states.

“We know what share that vote was in every battleground state,” he replied. “And we know from surveys that we conducted what percentage of them said they were going to vote for Donald Trump.”

“The math doesn’t add up,” he added, citing their research about the high percentage of reported evangelical support for Trump. “You can’t be at 76% nationally when you’re in the mid-80s in every state.”

As part of his presidential campaign, Biden made a concerted effort to reach out to faith communities, especially evangelical Christians, in contrast to Clinton in 2016.

Josh Dickson, an evangelical Christian and National Faith Engagement director for the Biden campaign, told CP in an earlier interview that there would be more evangelical outreach in 2020.

"We have evangelical leaders who will be supporting the vice president publicly. We are doing listening sessions with evangelical leaders to hear from them,” said Dickson in comments published Aug. 4.   

"We're hearing from people; we're engaging people, we're developing relationships. We are going to be including evangelical voices in our 'Believers for Biden' events, and we are also going to be launching 'Evangelicals for Biden.'"

For his part, Biden also penned a column for CP published Oct. 28 in which he argued that “loving God and loving others” was “at the very foundation of my faith.”

“We are called, as Christians, to serve rather than be served, and a Biden-Harris administration will embody that foundational value,” wrote Biden.

“We will be servants of the people and continue the important work we’ve started to build a robust, diverse, and inclusive coalition that deeply values the contributions of people of faith.”

“We don’t always have to agree on everything, but our country has to find a way to come together – to overcome the spirit of division and the hateful words that have defined too much of our public life for the last four years,” he added.

FFC's poll came as final results for the presidential election, as well as several legislative races to determine which party controls Congress, were still pending.

In addition to being a reporter, Michael Gryboski has also had a novel released titled Memories of Lasting Shadows. For more information, click here.  

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