The results were fascinating. First, we found out that one of the major religious/political figures of the time was very unpopular with evangelicals. In fact, for every evangelical who had a favorable opinion of him, two had an unfavorable opinion. The credibility of the survey was validated when we shared this information with one of the major presidential campaigns and this leader “voluntarily” stepped down as the spokesperson for the Christian right.
Second, we found out that abortion was not the prime motivator for evangelical Christians. In fact, of the 400 people we interviewed, about one-third were pro-choice, something we all found surprising — and probably the reason the results of this study were never released to the public.
Third, we found out what did draw this group toward politics: strong, decisive leaders, not issues. They got involved in politics for the same reason they got involved with their church — because they were looking for someone to help “show them the way.” Evangelicals were drawn into politics by messianic leaders…
Donald Trump is precisely the type of candidate that would have drawn evangelical Christian voters in 1987 when we conducted our poll, and I believe that he is precisely the type of candidate that is drawing them in today.