Donald Trump ended his time in the White House with nearly the lowest approval ratings of his political career, with just a 31 percent favorable rating and a whopping 67 percent unfavorable rating, according to PRRRI. Trump’s favorables haven’t been that low since he took office in 2016, but through thick and thin, one group has stuck by Trump throughout: white evangelicals. And although Trump faced enormous criticism for his administration’s failures to contain the pandemic and his own conspiratorial rhetoric about the election which helped incite the deadly insurrectionist riot in the U.S. Capitol, white evangelicals haven’t abandoned him.
62 percent of white evangelical still hold a favorable view of Trump, the only religious group surveyed with a majority in favor of the former president. Trump has a favorable rating among only 39 percent of white Catholics (a sharp drop since November, when 51 percent approved of him) and 41 percent of white mainline Protestants. Far fewer Christians of color approve of Trump, with just 19 percent viewing him favorably.
In the meantime, newly inaugurated President Joe Biden is enjoying relatively strong approval ratings in his first week of office, with 55 percent of the country viewing him favorably, which includes 89 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of Independents and just 16 percent of Republicans. Nonwhite Protestants are the religious group with the highest approval ratings for Biden, with 68 percent saying they view him favorably. Around 48 percent of white Catholics — Biden’s own religious demographic — agree. However, Biden has seen a sharp decline in his approval ratings among white Mainline Protestants (44 percent) and white evangelicals (2o percent) since the election, when 64 percent and 42 percent respectively approved of him.
Most new Presidents enter the White House with a healthy approval rating, boosted by a general sense of hope and optimism, so it’s no surprise that Biden’s flying high right now. But as Hamilton says, “winning is easy …governing’s harder.”