The recent period has created a tense polarization in the United States. Yet there has been no mass exodus from evangelicalism by white evangelicals who disliked Donald Trump or evangelicals of color in the four years of his presidency, although some believe they may have. place, according to new research.
Contrary to what some might expect, new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data finds there has been no large-scale deviation from evangelism among Americans white.
Since Trump was elected president in 2016 thanks in part to the strong support of white evangelical Protestants, many observers have wondered what impact this political alliance could have on the evangelical church in the United States.
Could there be an exodus from the church on the part of those who do not share the enthusiasm of their evangelical brethren for the former president?
If so, would that leave a smaller evangelical population, or would such defectors be replaced by evangelical converts supporting Trump?
And would the white evangelicals who backed Trump in 2016 stay with him in 2020?
Contrary to what some might have hoped, new analysis of survey data from the Pew Research Center found that there had been no large-scale deviation from evangelism among white Americans.
On the contrary, research shows strong evidence that white Americans who viewed Trump favorably and did not identify as evangelical in 2016 were much more likely than white Trump skeptics to start identifying as born again Protestants or evangelicals. now until 2020.
The results complicate an already tense discussion about the future of evangelism and the political baggage the label carries in the United States, Christianity Today reported.
âEvangelism does not crumble, despite the enthusiastic predictions of its detractors. However, I think what it is becoming deserves more conversation,â said Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center in an interview. at CT.
“There are important implications for the fact that a significant number of white Trump supporters now identify as evangelical or born again. We don’t know why, and correlation doesn’t always mean causation, but there is more to it. study here. “
The polls do not clearly show that white evangelicals who opposed Trump were significantly more likely than his supporters to abandon the evangelical label.
THE ELECTORAL PERFORMANCE OF EVANGELICS
The data also shows that Trump’s electoral performance among white evangelicals was even stronger in 2020 than in 2016, in part due to increased support from white voters who described themselves as evangelical throughout that time period.
One conclusion was that there had been no massive departure of white Americans from Evangelical Protestantism between 2016 and 2020.
Of all white adults who participated in the 2016 and 2020 surveys, 25% described themselves as born again Protestant or evangelical in 2016; 29% described themselves as such in 2020.
âOf course, that doesn’t mean that no one stopped identifying with evangelism between 2016 and 2020,â Pew said.
The survey shows that among white respondents who took part in both surveys, 2% identified as born again Protestant / Evangelical in 2016 and did not do so by 2020.
However, the 2% of white adults who stopped identifying themselves as evangelical during Trump’s tenure were more than offset by the 6% of white adults who started calling themselves born again Protestants / evangelicals between 2016 and 2020.
Another finding is that Trump garnered even more support in 2020 than in 2016 among white voters who identified as evangelical Protestants in the two years and voted in at least one of the two elections.
Six in ten of that group were consistent Trump supporters who voted for him in 2016 and 2020, and an additional 18% were Trump converts – they supported him in 2020 after voting for another candidate or failing to vote for him. not voted at all in 2016 general election.
In total, 78% of white voters who identified themselves as evangelical at both times voted for Trump in 2020.
In contrast, 9% of voters in this group were Trump defectors who supported someone else or did not vote in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016. The remaining 13% did not vote for Trump. in any of the elections.