A new poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in March found that 75 percent of white evangelicals surveyed had a positive view of President Trump, compared to 22 percent who reported they held a negative view. These numbers suggest that even amid the public turmoil of the Trump administration these past few weeks, the controversies have done little to sway the president’s base of support.
Among white evangelical men, the support number is even higher—81 percent—while among women in the demographic, the positive figure is at 71 percent. Some have argued that the demographic is standing merely for the only Republican option in the political field, and yet, 69 percent of white evangelicals surveyed said they would prefer Trump to another candidate.
Public Religion Research Institute founder and CEO Robert Jones told Vox the staunch support could be rooted in a few things. First, white evangelicals have a track record of partisanship, no matter the circumstances of the party. The demographic votes for the Republican candidate on a 4:1 ratio in comparison to the Democratic candidate. Those numbers have been steady since Reagan.
But Jones also pointed out that values-based voting has all but disappeared. “Evangelicals have completely turned their political ethics on its head,” he said, citing the difference in how evangelicals discussed the Clinton sex scandal compared to Trump’s alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
“[They believe] the ends justify the means,'” he said. “It’s a very transactional and utilitarian political ethic.”