Who people of faith plan to vote for in 2016

Posted September 11, 2016

More white Protestants plan to vote for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton, but the Republican presidential candidate fares poorly among Catholics and black Protestants, according to a new Public Religion Research Institute survey.

More than 6 in 10 white evangelical voters (62 percent) support Trump, and he also enjoys a 10 percentage-point lead over Clinton among white mainline Protestant voters (47 percent to 37 percent), the survey reported.

White Catholic voters are divided between the two candidates, with 41 percent planning to vote for Trump and 44 percent preferring Clinton, PRRI noted. Overall, Catholics are an important voting bloc, who compose around 20 percent of registered voters, according to America Magazine.

A previous survey from Pew Research Center had already hinted at Trump's Catholic problem. At this point in the 2012 election, Mitt Romney enjoyed a 9 percentage point lead over President Obama among white Catholics. Trump only led Clinton by 4 percentage points in June, and now PRRI's survey shows him behind.

He's far less popular than Clinton among non-white Catholics, PRRI noted. Three-quarters of non-white Catholic voters (76 percent) plan to support Clinton.

"Donald Trump takes pride in rattling the GOP establishment, but he faces a major roadblock on the way to the White House. Catholic voters, who have been key to picking the winning ticket in almost every modern election, reject Trump decisively," wrote John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, for Religion News Service in June.

Clinton has her biggest lead over Trump among black Protestants. Nearly 9 in 10 voters in this group (89 percent) plan to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee, PRRI reported.

This week, Trump will meet with black voters at Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit, in an effort to improve his polling numbers, USA Today reported.

"We're fighting for every single vote. We're going to leave it all on the field. And that includes going where the voters are and taking the case directly to them in their churches," said Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, in a Sunday interview, according to USA Today.

Commentators have noted that Clinton is also working hard to appeal to people of faith. The lifelong Methodist is drawing back the curtain on her personal religious practices and focusing her campaign on faithful values.

"The Clinton campaign … has given voice to the religious principle of love — an explicitly Christian concept that is espouse by most monotheistic faiths — as the root of liberal policies," wrote Samuel Freedman in his most recent column for The New York Times.

Email: Twitter: @kelsey_dallas

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  • Stacie Hagwood Sep 11, 2016
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    I am sure Jesus is thrilled that evangelicals who plan to vote for Trump, ignore how he has treated non-white, non-males. Nothing Christ-like to see in Trump, and yet they plan to vote for him anyway. I get hating Clinton, I just don't get supporting Trump.