Most Protestant Pastors 'Approve' of Trump's Job Performance; Only 29 Percent Disapprove

Donald Trump
Members of President Donald Trump's evangelical advisory board pray with him in the Oval Office. |

Most Protestant pastors in the United States approve of the job that President Trump is doing but one type of pastor is by far most approving of Trump's job performance, according to a new survey.

LifeWay Research found in a survey released Thursday that about 51 percent of America's Protestant pastors approve in some form or fashion of the job that the thrice married real estate mogul is doing in the White House, while only 29 percent disapprove of the job that Trump has done, and 20 percent are not sure.

"Compared to the middle of President Obama's first term, we see twice as many pastors say they're undecided on President Trump's job performance," cott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement.

Surveying over 1,000 pastors over the phone between Aug. 29 through Sept. 11, LifeWay found that 86 percent of Pentecostal pastors approved of Trump's job performance, marking Trump's highest pastor approval rating of any denomination listed in the survey.

The data comes as several Pentecostal thinkers and leaders have compared Trump to King Cyrus and other biblical figures.

While Baptist pastors (especially those affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention) are also known for being heavily conservative and supportive of Trump, nearly 20 percent fewer Baptist pastors (68 percent) said they approved of the job that Trump is doing. However, that number could include Baptist pastors from more politically liberal Baptist denominations.

Forty-one percent of Lutheran pastors and 55 percent of Church of Christ pastors said they approved of the president's job performance, while only 28 percent of Presbyterian/Reformed pastors and 25 percent of Methodist pastors said the same.

When analyzed from an evangelical or mainline perspective, 63 percent of pastors who self-identified as evangelical said they approved of the job that Trump is doing. Meanwhile, only 41 percent of mainline pastors also approved of Trump's job performance.

Another LifeWay survey found before the 2016 election that only 32 percent of Protestant pastors said they were sure they were going to vote for Trump. Four out of 10 pastors were undecided and about 19 percent of the pastors surveyed said they would vote for Clinton. That survey suggested that 52 percent of Protestant pastors were Republican.

That same survey found that 61 percent of Pentecostal pastors planned to vote for Trump, while 46 percent of Baptist pastors planned to vote for Trump.

"With the majority of Protestant pastors identifying as Republican, it is not surprising that a majority approve of President Trump in his first term," McConnell added. "Clearly, pastors' political views factor in how they evaluate the president's leadership and accomplishments in the first half of his term."

When breaking up the results into racial demographics, African-American pastors (4 percent) were least likely to approve of Trump's performance and were most likely to disprove (85 percent).

"In 2016, only 6 percent of African-American pastors identified as Republican and nothing in President Trump's first two years has generated approval from African-American pastors beyond that level," McConnell opined.

Only 30 percent of female pastors approved of Trump's job performance, while 56 percent of male pastors approved.

Additionally, 71 percent of pastors with no college degree and 67 percent of pastors with just a bachelor's degree approved of Trump's job performance. By comparison, only 41 percent of pastors with a master's degree and 52 percent of pastors with a doctoral degree approved of the job the president is doing.

The survey has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points, which can be higher when it comes to respondent subgroups.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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