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Evangelicals are for Trump Clinton and Others

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Party affiliation is a much stronger predictor of voting preferences than faith.

This week, I will be in Atlanta speaking at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, presenting data alongside Greg Smith, of Pew Research, on evangelicals and the election.

A few months ago, I worked with LifeWay Research and the National Association of Evangelicals to help create a tool that looked at evangelical beliefs. We explained:

Surveys that focus on white evangelicals shape the way our non-evangelical neighbors see evangelical believers. So they often perceive us primarily as political adversaries or allies, rather than people primarily motivated by beliefs.

But our new definition shows that when we examine them by what they actually believe, American evangelicals are quite diverse.

In this NAE-approved research-based definition, an Evangelical is someone who strongly agrees with these four statements:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

(National Association of Evangelicals and LifeWay Research Evangelical Beliefs Research Definition)

So, as we look at evangelicals by belief, not just “white evangelicals” (who are overwhelmingly for Donald Trump), we find a very different story.

LifeWay Research conducted a survey before the second presidential debate (Sunday, October 9).

Bob Smietana, senior writer for Facts & Trends magazine, notes:

Overall, less than half (45 percent) of likely voters with evangelical beliefs plan to vote for Donald Trump, according to the survey. ...

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