Poll: White Evangelicals Stand Out on Abortion and LGBT Politics
White Evangelical Protestants set themselves apart sharply from other religious people, new poll shows when it comes to abortion restrictions and protections against LGBT discrimination, two of the most politically controversial issues in the presidential election from 2020.
Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the late Reverend Billy Graham and one of Trump’s most staunch evangelical allies, highlighted the president’s abortion record as a key driver of support for his religious community.
“I don’t think evangelicals are united on every position the president takes or says, but they do recognize that he is the most life-friendly president in modern history,” Graham said in a recent interview. “He has appointed Conservative judges who will affect the lives of my children and grandchildren long after he is gone.
Asked about significant restrictions that would make abortion illegal, except in cases of rape, incest, or threats to a mother’s life, 67% of white evangelical Protestants responded in favor. These abortion limits attracted 39% of support from White Protestants, 33% of support from non-White Protestants, 45% of support from Catholics and 37% of all Americans, according to the poll of over 1,000 American adults of various faiths. faith-based studies conducted by the Associated Press -NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
A similar divide has arisen over whether the government should ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in the workplace, in housing or at school. About 6 in 10 Catholics, white Protestants and non-white Protestants supported these protections, compared to about a third of white evangelical Protestants.
The differences between white evangelicals and other American clerics, as well as non-clerics, were less marked on other policy issues examined in the poll.
Indeed, the preference of white Evangelical Protestants for religious influence over abortion policy exceeded most of the other issues examined in the poll. About 8 in 10 white evangelicals said religion should have at least some influence on abortion policy. A similar proportion said that in poverty, compared with around 7 in 10 who say the same about education and around 6 in 10 who say this about income inequality, immigration and issues LGBT.
Trump has adopted a resolute anti-abortion agenda and his administration has opposed Democrat-backed legislation seeking to challenge him in 2020 that would extend broad anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
“There is no one, except a few wacky people who are half of 1%, who would ever want to discriminate against some of these groups,” said Stephen Strang, founder of Christian magazine Charisma and author of an upcoming book supporting Trump’s re-election. .
“But what’s happening is this legislation criminalizes long-held beliefs that we think are scriptural,” Strang added, referring to conservative evangelical opposition to same-sex marriage.
About 8 in 10 white evangelical Protestants approve of the president’s professional performance, according to the poll, which asked respondents to identify themselves as born again or evangelical.
Trump’s re-election campaign plans to show that support on Friday in Miami, where the president is set to unveil an “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition.
But not all of the policies Trump supported found solid support in the poll of white evangelical Protestants. A majority of white evangelicals have opposed an immigration policy that separates children from parents who are detained entering the country illegally, although non-white Protestants and white Protestants have opposed this policy by margins. slightly more important.
“I disagree with the president on this point,” said Dorothy Louallen, 87, of Dunlap, Tennessee, who described herself as a born-again Christian opposed to abortion. “I really don’t think government and churches should be involved.”
The poll also showed that a majority of white evangelical Protestants support higher taxes on the wealthy, albeit by lower margins than the other major religious groups surveyed, as well as non-religious. Trump signed a GOP tax bill in 2017 that cuts taxes for the middle class but offers greater tax relief for wealthier Americans.
Likewise, about half of white evangelicals have expressed support for increased government assistance to the poor, comparable to the support for this policy of white Catholics and Protestants. About 7 in 10 non-white Protestants supported more government assistance for the poor. More than 600,000 low-income Americans are expected to lose access to food stamps under new work requirements proposed by the Trump administration.
In addition, about 6 in 10 white evangelicals have supported regulating the levels of carbon dioxide that power plants can emit, a climate change action that Trump has weakened and the majority of other religious groups also support. as well as those without religious affiliation. .
Americans with no religious affiliation recorded stronger opposition in the poll than people of specific faiths to abortion restrictions (72%) and stronger support than people of specific faiths for government action aimed at protect lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people from discrimination (83%). About a quarter of Americans currently do not align themselves with any religion, a figure that has increased dramatically in three decades, according to the General Social Survey.
However, some Americans of Faith continue to defy easy characterization – a trend that promises to cloud the political calculus as a 2020 campaign approaches where Democrats have shown a keen interest in connecting with voters of faith, even evangelicals Trump is often assumed to have locked up. .
Courtney Lester, 29, of Macon, Ga., Said she was baptized in the Baptist faith but “I can’t say I’m in one religion.”
Once policymakers “mix religion and politics, that’s when things get mixed up a lot,” Lester added, noting that she “isn’t here to judge anybody” from a different sexual orientation and praising the immigrants for making America “great the first time.”
Lester, who is undecided in the election, said faith should play the same role in politics as in medicine: Doctors, she said, prioritize health rather than asking “Who is your God? ” Before “see if you have the flu.” “
The AP-NORC survey of 1,053 adults was conducted from December 5 to 9 using a sample drawn from NORC’s AmeriSpeak probability panel, which is designed to be representative of the American population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. Respondents were first randomly selected using address-based sampling methods and then interviewed online or by telephone.
AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/