Catholic support for Trump drops after difficult June for president

Catholic support for Trump drops after difficult June for president

In this Thursday, June 25, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump waves as he arrives on Air Force One at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, Wis. Trump seems to rarely leave a thought unspoken. Of late, though, it is increasingly clear there are things Trump won’t say, and they are tied to the most important issues of his presidency. (Credit: Evan Vucci/AP.)

A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center has found that while white Protestants remain the most important base for U.S. President Donald Trump, his approval ratings from most Christian groups, including Catholics, have dropped across the board since April.

ROME – A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center has found that while white Protestants remain the most important base for U.S. President Donald Trump, his approval ratings from most Christian groups, including Catholics, have dropped across the board since April.

According to the survey, published July 1, 72 percent of white Evangelical Protestants say they approve of how Trump is handling his presidency, however, that is a six percent drop from his numbers in April, which coincided with a 5-point drop among U.S. adults overall.

Conducted from June 16-22, the survey includes the contributions of some 4,708 U.S. adults and assesses their view of Trump’s performance, as well as a potential presidency of Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2020 election.

The June survey was conducted following controversial visits by Trump to St. John’s Episcopal Church June 1, where he was accused of using a Bible as a prop in a photo op, and to the John Paul II Shrine in Washington D.C., which was met with fiery opposition from Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who criticized Trump for using tear gas to disband peaceful crowds protesting the death of George Floyd.

Pew’s new survey was also held in the immediate wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 15 ruling to protect the workplace rights of LGBT employees.

Data collected from the survey reports that white evangelicals who said they “very strongly” approved of Trump is now at 59 percent, down eight points from April, when 67 percent said they strongly approved of his presidency.

Among black Protestants, however, Trump’s numbers are far lower, with just 12 percent saying they approve of Trump, down from 21 percent in April.

Catholic support for Trump has also declined, dropping from 40 percent in April to just 31 percent in June.

This support is also largely divided along racial lines, with white Catholics showing overall higher approval ratings for Trump than Hispanic Catholics, which make up a significant portion of Catholicism in the United States.

White Catholics generally are slightly more favorable to Trump, with 54 percent saying they approve of his presidency. However, this is down from 62 percent in April. His support among Hispanic Catholics is far lower, with just 23 percent saying the approve of his presidency. Black Catholics were not polled separately in the survey.

According to the study, if the U.S. presidential elections were held today, white Christians overwhelmingly said they would vote for Trump. Roughly 82 percent of white evangelical Protestants registered to vote would favor Trump, whereas just 17 percent would vote for Biden.

Just 47 percent of Catholics said they would vote for Trump, but 57 percent of those supporters were white.

Around 88 percent of Black Protestants said they would vote for Biden if an election were held today, making them his strongest supporters.

Black Protestants also registered the highest dissatisfaction with Trump, with 79 percent saying they think he has been a “terrible” president, and 54 percent saying they believe Biden would be a “good” or “great” president. Their disapproval of Trump went up from 74 percent in April to 83 percent in June.

Among Catholics, just 36 percent overall said they approve of Trump’s presidency, with 47 percent of white Catholics voicing support, versus 20 percent from Hispanic Catholics. The numbers were less conclusive regarding Biden, with just 29 percent of Catholics as a whole saying they think he would be a good president.

Religious “nones” – who describe themselves as either atheist, agnostic or practicing no particular religion –  generally held more positive views of Biden, with 72 percent saying they would vote for Biden if the election were held today.

Follow Elise Ann Allen on Twitter: @eliseannallen

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