More than half of white Evangelical voters now have a favorable view of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, up from just under 40 percent a few months ago according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute.
Since November 2015, says the PRRI, "white evangelical Protestant voters have become more amiable towards Trump."
Some 53 percent of white evangelical Protestant voters express a favorable view of Trump today, up from 37 percent last November says the survey. Only about four in ten or 41 percent of white evangelical Protestant voters express a negative view of Trump at the moment. In November, some 56 percent of white evangelicals expressed a negative view of the real estate mogul.
On Monday without making any reference to the poll, Trump boasted that evangelical Christians "really do get me," according to the Associated Press.
At a rally in Waterloo, Iowa Monday morning, just hours before the start of the Iowa caucuses Trump said "the evangelicals have been unbelievable to Donald Trump."
"Boy do they understand me. They understand me better than anybody," he added.
Trump has won the support of many prominent evangelical Christians including Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell Jr.
On Monday, he promised that if he becomes president he'll "protect Christianity," which he says is under siege.
Nationwide, Trump also increased his advantage over his Republican primary opponents among self-reported Republican registered voters according to PRRI.
One-third or 33 percent of Republican voters say they would prefer Trump to be the nominee. This is a ten percentage point increase over his level of support in November 2015, and more than double that of those expressing support for Ted Cruz, 14 percent; Ben Carson, 14 percent, and Marco Rubio, 12 percent. No other candidate registered more than 5 percent support.
While Trump's favorability among white Evangelicals is growing, a recent poll by Nashville-based Christian research organization LifeWay, said just four percent of American pastors in general say that they are planning to vote for the billionaire for president.
LifeWay researchers conducted phone interviews with over 1,000 senior pastors, priests and ministers from various Protestant churches all over the United States during a two-week time span in January.