New Poll: Most White Evangelicals Approve of the Way Trump is Handling Coronavirus

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A new HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted over the weekend found that President Donald Trump enjoys strong support from white evangelicals despite continued criticism over his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Roughly 7 in 10 white evangelical Christians approve of the way the president is handling matters related to the pandemic, according to the poll. 52 percent of those surveyed say they “strongly” approve of his performance, compared to 45 percent of American adults who said they strongly or “somewhat” approved. Additionally, 70 percent of white evangelicals said they approve of the United States government’s response to the crisis compared to only 47 percent who could say the same.

Other key findings:

  • 70 percent of white evangelicals agree with the decision to cancel large events nationwide in a bid to slow down the spread of the virus. That number is roughly the same across all Americans surveyed.
  • 61 percent of white evangelicals believe the government bears responsibility for providing free coronavirus for anyone who might have the virus, compared to 72 percent of all respondents.
  • 48 percent of white evangelicals believe the government should provide free medical care for those confirmed to have the virus, compared to 62 percent of all respondents.
  • Although white evangelicals tend to lean Republican, Republicans are more likely to approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic and are more likely to say they at least somewhat approve of the entire government’s response (82 percent to 67 percent).
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A recent Pew Research Center survey also found that white evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to say the terms “morally upstanding” and “honest” describe Trump at least “fairly well.”

“On the whole, Americans care more about having a president who stands up for their religious beliefs than having one who personally shares those beliefs. Roughly seven-in-ten say it is either very (38%) or somewhat (31%) important to have a president who stands up for people with their religious beliefs,” the Pew Research Center notes before adding:

White evangelical Protestants are particularly likely to hold this view. Two-thirds of white evangelicals say it is very important to have a president who stands up for their religious beliefs, about double the share who say it is very important for a president to have strong religious beliefs. And white evangelicals say Trump fits the bill: Fully eight-in-ten white evangelical Protestants say that the phrase “fights for what I believe in” describes Trump “very well” or “fairly well,” including roughly half who say this describes him “very well.”

Those findings do come with some caveats: Only 15 percent of evangelicals say “morally upstanding” describes Trump “very well,” compared to 45 percent who say the term applies to Trump “fairly well.” 23 percent would describe him as “honest,” and 31 percent say they approve of his conduct compared to 44 percent who say they have “mixed feelings” about his conduct and 22 percent who say they don’t like it at all.