Only 15% of white evangelicals say 'morally upstanding' describes Trump 'very well': Pew

White evangelical support for Trump still stronger than general population

trump evangelicals
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 3, 2020, in Miami, Florida. |

Only 15 percent of white evangelicals believe that the phrase “morally upstanding” describes President Trump “very well,” according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.

Pew released the findings of the survey on Monday which found that, while nearly two-thirds of white evangelicals believe Trump has helped them while in office, a much smaller percentage confidently describe him as “morally upstanding.”

Among white evangelical respondents, 15 percent believed that the term “morally upstanding” described Trump “very well,” while 45 percent responded that the term fit “fairly well” and 37 percent said “not too well” or “not at all well.”

Also 23 percent of white evangelical respondents said that “honest” described Trump “very well,” compared to 46 percent that said “fairly well” and 29 percent that said “Not too/not at all well.”

Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell Jr.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with co-headliner Jerry Falwell Jr., leader of the nation’s largest Christian university, during a campaign event at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa January 31, 2016. |

“While white evangelical Protestants generally see Trump as standing up for them, they are less convinced that he personally lives a moral and ethical life or conducts himself admirably,” stated Pew.

“Still, even though relatively few white evangelicals say words and phrases like ‘morally upstanding’ and ‘honest’ describe Trump very well, most say these traits describe Trump at least fairly well.”

Pew also noted that white evangelicals were more likely than the general U.S. population to consider Trump to be “morally upstanding,” “honest,” or religious.

Pew noted that all surveyed religious groups, including more than two-thirds of white evangelicals, agreed that the term “self-centered” described Trump.

The report drew from a survey conducted Feb. 4-15 among 6,395 U.S. adults in a nationally representative sample from Pew’s American Trends Panel.

The survey also found that 27 percent of adults in the U.S. believe that the 2016 election of Trump reflected God’s will, with only 5 percent saying that God chose Trump because of his policies.

The same survey found that while 56 percent of white evangelical respondents believed that the election of Trump in some way was part of God’s plan, only 14 percent believed that Trump was elected because God liked his policies.

“Among white evangelical Protestants, 11% say God chose Trump but not Obama because God favored Trump’s policies, while only 2% say God favored Obama on policy grounds, but not Trump,” wrote Gregory A. Smith of Pew.

“Among black Protestants, 12% say Obama’s election (but not Trump’s) reflects divine endorsement of his policies, while only 4% say this about Trump (but not Obama).”

In recent times, multiple polls have shown white evangelicals to be more supportive of the president than the general U.S. population.

For example, the Public Religion Research Institute released a survey last October which found that 77 percent of white evangelical Protestants approved of Trump’s job performance, far larger than the 39 percent from overall respondents.

“I think that the data here shows that [Trump’s] support among evangelicals is not just rock-solid, it is growing if you look at several years PRRI data here,” said PRRI Board Chair Melissa Deckman last year, regarding the 2019 findings.

“I think evangelicals continue to back Donald Trump because they view him as their champion. He has delivered on many policies that other Republican presidents haven’t.”

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