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White Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons backed Donald Trump

by | Nov 10, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

exitpolls39What follows is the first of two posts today that break down the presidential vote by various subcategories. The first addresses the vote of religious communities. Bear in mind that sometimes further research qualifies what Election Night exit poll results say.

Writing for the Atlantic, Olga Khazan answers the question, “Why Christians Overwhelmingly Backed Trump: Despite predictions to the contrary, Trump won among conservative women and evangelicals” [www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/11/why-women-and-christians-backed-trump/507176].

Hint. You will like the answer.

First, how overwhelming is overwhelming? “81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Trump, as did the majority of people who attend religious services once a week or more,” Khazan writes. Hillary Clinton received 16%.

“White evangelicals made up 1 in 4 of all voters in the 2016 election,” wrote Kate Shellnutt for Christianity Today. “The only demographics that broke for Trump more than white evangelicals were Republican men (90%), Republican women (89%), and conservatives (81%).” [We will talk about them and others, in our second post.]

So, white Evangelicals are a large voting bloc who were very much in Trump’s corner. What else made them particularly important November 8?

“Evangelicals also play prominently in swing states like Florida, where they are anticipated to make up 20 percent of the state’s votes,” writes the Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey. “There they polled 85-13 percent. Their support for Clinton at 16 percent was less than evangelical support for Obama of 20 percent in 2012.” Trump carried Florida by 1 point.

So, why did 4 out of 5 White Evangelicals vote for Trump? Back to Khazan.

Abortion.

Her evidence does not include the educational and get out the vote work of groups such as National Right to Life which would make her case more solid:

Trump’s embrace by these groups might signal the importance of abortion—an issue on which at least a fifth of Americans say they will not compromise when voting. In 2015, 21 percent of Americans said they would only vote for a candidate who shared their abortion views, up from 13 percent in 2008.

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence’s abortion stance is well known: As governor of Indiana, he signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation.

Khazan continued, “Then, his remarks about abortion during the final presidential debate—he said, “you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby,” before she concludes

It seems, though, that pro-life voters might have been persuaded by some of Trump’s other comments in the final debate. He said he’d like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and for abortion rights to be left up to the states. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said, “I strongly support Roe v. Wade.”

Much less attention was paid to the Catholic vote. While not as overwhelming as White Evangelicals, Catholics did prefer Trump over Clinton, 52% to 45%.

Likewise, Trump enjoyed 36 point advantage among Mormons–61% to 25%.

Clinton won among Jewish voters–71% to 24%–and non-evangelical Protestants–59% to 35%.

More in our second post– “The Exit Polls: what was spot-on, what was way off, and why they missed Trump victory.”

Categories: Donald Trump