- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Rev. Franklin Graham had one explanation for stunned media and flabbergasted Democrats after then-candidate Donald Trump won the White House.

“God showed up,” the pastor said just hours after Mr. Trump was declared the winner, referring to the remarkable support the hopeful received from evangelicals, who prayed for him throughout the campaign, then turned out at the polls in mighty numbers.

Looks like their approval and affection has not waned. A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute has revealed that the approval numbers have never been better.

“White evangelical support for President Trump is at an all-time high, with 75 percent holding a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. This level of support is far above support in the general population, where Trump’s favorability is at 42 percent,” writes analyst Robert P. Jones, who says that the president-to-be’s approval never got above 50 percent in early 2016, but jumped to 61 percent by autumn, and to 68 percent upon Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

“Trump’s support among white evangelicals at this stage of his presidency is strikingly solid. While there are modest differences by gender, Trump’s favorability among white evangelical women is still a robust 71 percent, compared to 81 percent among white evangelical men. And Trump’s favorability is still a strong 68 percent among college-educated white evangelicals, compared to 78 percent among those without a college degree,” Mr. Jones says. “Looking ahead to the 2020 election, Trump’s support among white evangelicals is also strong. White evangelical Protestants who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party say they would prefer Donald Trump, rather than another candidate, to be the GOP nominee for president in 2020 (69 percent vs. 23 percent).”



FOR THE LEXICON

“Comeytose.”

A new descriptive noun coined by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, meant to identify those who are already fatigued by author James B. Comey’s new book, his national tour and his multiple media appearances.

THE NATION LOVES THOSE GOP GOVERNORS

“Americans like Republicans running their states. A new tabulation of state-by-state job approval ratings for all 50 of the nation’s governors finds that the top 15 with the highest approvals are all GOP,” writes Hot Air columnist Andrew Malcolm, citing information compiled by the Clarus Research Group, and reminding worried Republican voters that there are 33 Republican governors — and 16 who are Democrats, plus a single independent.

With approval ratings of 71 percent and 68 percent respectively, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan hold the highest job approval ratings in America, and both are in traditionally Democratic states. In third place is Alabama’s Kay Ivey, followed by Vermont’s Phil Scott, New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu, South Dakota’s Dennis Daugaard, Wyoming’s Matt Mead, Utah’s Gary Herbert, North Dakota’s Doug Burgum and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval in the top 10. No. 11 is Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson followed by Tennessee’s Bill Haslam, Georgia’s Nathan Deal, Texas’ Greg Abbott and Florida’s Rick Scott.

The highest ranking Democrats are Montana’s Steve Bullock at No. 16 with 55 percent approval, followed by Minnesota’s Mark Dayton with 53 percent.

FOXIFIED

It’s time. Fox News has revved up its election engine. The nation’s leading cable news network soon will launch “America’s Election Headquarters 2018.” The new midterm election series roars to life May 1 with the “West Virginia GOP Senate Primary Debate,” a significant event moderated by anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. Candidates who reach a threshold of 10 percent voter support in an upcoming Fox News poll will be invited to participate in the debate.

The network also will partner with the Florida GOP to host a Republican gubernatorial primary debate in Orlando, with Mr. Baier and Ms. MacCallum in the moderators’ chairs. Each debate features before and after analysis as both voters and anchors address the high stakes of a very important election.

REPUBLICANS TRUMP THE SCIENTISTS

“Regardless of political affiliation, people are more likely to believe facts about climate change when they come from Republicans speaking against what has become a partisan interest in this country,” says a new University of Connecticut study, which found that GOPers turned out to be even more persuasive than scientists when it comes to correcting misinformation about climate change.

“Unfortunately, correcting misinformation is much harder than simply providing ‘facts’,” says Lyle Scruggs, a political science professor on the campus, and study co-author.

“For science issues such as climate change, we might expect scientists to be a credible and neutral authority. However, partisanship increasingly influences perceptions of scientific credibility,” points out Salil Benegal, the other co-author and an environmental studies fellow at DePauw University.

The analysis was based on the reactions of 1,341 people, and included data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Overall, participants found the most effective corrections came from Republicans rather than nonpartisan scientists or Democrats. There was also a certain dramatic factor at work as well, apparently.

“This may be because Republicans who make such statements are engaging in more potentially costly behavior that lend them additional persuasive value,” the authors noted.

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POLL DU JOUR

• 42 percent of Americans are “not sure” who should lead House Republicans; 33 percent “don’t care” who leads them, 9 percent favor House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, 7 percent Rep. Jim Jordan, 6 percent Rep. Kevin McCarthy, 2 percent “some other” Republican.

• 33 percent are not sure who should lead Senate Republicans; 29 percent don’t care who leads them, 30 percent favor some other Republican, 8 percent favor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

• 31 percent are not sure who should lead Senate Democrats; 27 percent don’t care who leads them, 25 percent favor some other Democrat, 17 percent favor Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

• 28 percent are not sure who should lead House Democrats; 25 percent don’t care who leads House Democrats, 32 percent favor some other Democrat, 15 percent favor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted April 15-17.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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