Evangelicals and non-evangelicals: The divide in white working-class support for Trump

While polls generally show Trump retaining strong support overall among blue-collar whites, more detailed results in several recent surveys reveal a critical distinction: Trump faces much more resistance among working-class whites who are not evangelical Christians than among those who are. If Democrats can advance through that opening, it could prove crucial in 2020, because evangelicals compose a much smaller share of the white working-class population in the pivotal Rust Belt battleground states, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, than they do in the South.

The divergence over Trump between working-class whites who are and are not evangelicals “is one of the most important political gaps we have,” says Robert P. Jones, founder and CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan organization that studies the role of religion in politics…

On a wide array of cultural and political questions, these non-evangelical blue-collar whites express views that place them between those two antithetical voting blocks. On balance, they lean toward culturally conservative positions, but not nearly as fervently as the evangelical Christians do. And while they express clear concerns about Trump’s conduct during his presidency, they aren’t nearly as alienated from him as the non-evangelical whites with advanced education.

On every front, these voters look closely divided. “They are cross-pressured,” says Jones.

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