- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 1, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — About 7 in 10 White evangelical Protestants approve of President Donald Trump’s handling of his job, according to a new survey — support from a cornerstone of his political base that has remained strong following a polarizing church visit and a Supreme Court ruling on LGBT discrimination that disheartened some conservatives.

Trump’s 72% approval among White evangelicals in June, released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, represents a fall of six percentage points since a similar April survey. But it also comes as his campaign steps up its appeals to religious voters ahead of November’s election, and after Trump faced criticism from two faith leaders in the wake of his June 1 photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, for which protesters were forcibly cleared from a nearby park.

The survey also was conducted after a Supreme Court decision last month that shielded LGBT people from employment discrimination, a ruling that dismayed religious conservatives and saw Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch side with more liberal justices. The survey’s findings about Trump’s white evangelical approval are in line with a fall in his general approval among all Americans, which declined from 44% in April to 39% in June.

Despite the tick downward, Trump’s approval among white evangelicals has remained largely consistent over his presidency, like his approval rating overall.

Beyond evangelicals’ sustained approval, the survey also found a majority of two other Christian groups continuing to register approval of the president. Trump tallied 56% approval among non-evangelical white Protestants in June and 54% approval among white Catholics.



Among Black Protestants, Trump’s approval ticked up from 10% in January to 21% in April, but fell back down to 12% in June, amid ongoing demonstrations against racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Trump’s approval among Hispanic Catholics in June stood at 23%, with 74% disapproving, similar to its level in January. Religiously unaffiliated voters, a category that includes those who identify as atheist or agnostic and those who identify as “nothing in particular,” registered 24% approval of Trump in June, also similar to January.

The survey did not break down Trump’s approval among other religious groups due to insufficient sample sizes.

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Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed from Washington.

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The Pew Research Center poll of 4,708 adults was conducted June 16-22 using a sample drawn from a panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

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Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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