By Aaron Earls
For all the discussion about their voting habits, American evangelicals are as satisfied with their presidential vote today as they were when they cast it in 2016.
And for most evangelical voters, that vote went to Donald Trump.
Evangelicals by belief—those who hold to four key theological statements developed by LifeWay Research and the National Association of Evangelicals—were more likely than self-identified evangelicals and non-evangelicals to say they voted for Trump.
Of the voters surveyed in the LifeWay Research and Billy Graham Center Institute study, almost 6 in 10 evangelicals by belief (58 percent) say they cast their ballot for Trump, while 53 percent of self-identified evangelicals say the same. Only 36 percent of non-evangelicals say they were Trump voters.
More than a third of evangelicals by belief (36 percent) and self-identified evangelicals say they voted for Hillary Clinton. More than half (53 percent) of non-evangelicals say they voted for her.
Few evangelicals—or any other group—say they voted third party in 2016.
Evangelicals by belief are also the most likely to say when they thought about their vote, they were specifically voting for their candidate, not against the opponent.
More than half of evangelicals by belief (53 percent) say their 2016 vote was for the preferred candidate. Slightly fewer self-identified evangelicals (47 percent) and non-evangelicals (46 percent) agreed.
Evangelicals by belief were, however, the most likely to say they were voting against Clinton, with 18 percent saying opposition to the Democratic candidate was why they voted.
Evangelicals by belief are the least likely to say their vote was against Trump (15 percent), against both leading candidates (2 percent), or for a political party or their positions (5 percent).
As they think about the candidate they supported in 2016, most evangelicals by belief felt strong support for their candidate then and still do today.
“Given the nominated presidential candidates in 2016, most voters with evangelical beliefs were sure about their choice and few have changed their minds,” says Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
“But it is important to remember they didn’t all vote for the same candidate.”
Nine in 10 evangelicals by belief (90 percent) agree they felt strong support for their preferred candidate at the time they voted, with 69 percent strongly agreeing.
Today, 88 percent say they still feel strong support for who they voted for in 2016, with 70 percent strongly agreeing.
Self-identified evangelicals and non-evangelicals are less likely to say they felt strong support for their candidate when they voted and less likely to have that same support today.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor for Facts & Trends.