white evangelicals

Evangelicals and Trump, again: Alan Cooperman says journalists should ponder four myths

Evangelicals and Trump, again: Alan Cooperman says journalists should ponder four myths

This just in: It appears that 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump and, thus, totally embrace his agenda to destroy all of humanity.

Or something like that. Also, it doesn’t matter that evangelical voters aren’t all that powerful in several of the key purple or blue states in which Hillary Clinton received way fewer votes than Barack Obama, thus costing her the election.

But let’s return to the great 81 percent monolith again, a number that hides complex realities among morally and culturally conservative voters. For more information on that, check out this survey by LifeWay Research and the Billy Graham Institute at Wheaton College. Also, click here for a GetReligion podcast on that topic or here for a “On Religion” column I wrote on this topic.

I bring this up because of interesting remarks made during a recent Faith Angle seminar, an ongoing religion-news education project organized by the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

The topic this time: “America’s Religious Vote: Midterms and New Trends.” Clicking that link will take you to a website containing a video of the event and, eventually, a transcript. I heard about this through Acts of Faith at The Washington Post, specifically its must-get online newsletter. In a recent edition, religion-beat veteran Michelle Boorstein pointed readers to remarks at that event by Alan Cooperman, director of religion surveys at the Pew Research Center (and a former Post reporter). The Christian Post offered a summary of what Cooperman had to say — focusing on four myths about evangelical voters.

This is interesting stuff, although it doesn’t really explore key fault lines and mixed motives inside that massive white evangelical Trump vote (click here for tmatt’s typology of six different kinds of evangelical voters in 2016 election).

… Cooperman outlined what he says are “straw men” arguments, or “myths,” that he hears being asserted in political discussions today. Four of those myths involve some common misconceptions about white evangelical voters.

Myth 1: Evangelicals are turning liberal or turning against Trump

While there certainly are some white evangelicals who are staunch in their opposition to President Donald Trump, he doesn't see any rise in their numbers in Pew data.

Citing aggregated Pew Research Center data compiled from 2017 to 2018, Cooperman stated that there is “a lot of stability” when it comes to Trump’s approval ratings among self-identified white evangelical or born-again Protestants.

“Right up before the election, aggregated data from our polls over the last several months [showed] 71 percent approval rating for the president [among white evangelicals],” Cooperman said. “If anything, party ID among white evangelical Protestants is trending more Republican. This notion that white evangelical Protestants are turning liberal, I don’t see. … I don’t see it anywhere.”

Now, here is the crucial question: Is saying that “party ID among white evangelical Protestants is trending more Republican” the same thing as saying that all of those white evangelical Protestants wholeheartedly support Trump?

Please respect our Commenting Policy

White evangelical women reportedly tiptoeing away from Trump, but big questions remain

White evangelical women reportedly tiptoeing away from Trump, but big questions remain

I'm feeling grumpy.

A friend suggests that a lot of people seem to be in a foul mood today. Perhaps it has something to do with that time change over the weekend?

So there's at least a chance my state of mind is influencing my take on a New York Times story published over the weekendIf my critique impresses you as overly negative, by all means, feel free to call me on it.

The article in question concerns white evangelical women — "core supporters of Trump" — having second thoughts about the Republican president. It's an interesting thesis, but the piece is one that — at least for me — raises more questions than it answers. 

Let's start at the top:

GRAPEVINE, Tex. — Carol Rains, a white evangelical Christian, has no regrets over her vote for President Trump. She likes most of his policies and would still support him over any Democrat. But she is open to another Republican.
“I would like for someone to challenge him,” Ms. Rains said, as she sipped wine recently with two other evangelical Christian women at a suburban restaurant north of Dallas. “But it needs to be somebody that’s strong enough to go against the Democrats.” Her preferred alternative: Nikki R. Haley, the United Nations ambassador and former South Carolina governor.
One of her friends, Linda Leonhart, agreed. “I will definitely take a look to see who has the courage to take on a job like this and do what needs to be done,” she said.

The story is written by a national political correspondent, not a religion beat pro, which may play into some of my questions.

For example: The location of the interview — a restaurant — seems like a strange scene setter for a story with a religious focus. Was there not a women's Bible study or other church gathering that would have made more sense for the opening? Just curious.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Let's face it: White evangelical voters are totally schizophrenic, and here's why

Let's face it: White evangelical voters are totally schizophrenic, and here's why

Time for a quiz.

Let's assess the state of white evangelical voters, circa 2016.

Such voters are (pick one):

A. "Feeling under siege." 

B. "Going through an identity crisis."

C. "Concerned about Islamic terrorists."

D. Who really knows? Can this election please be over already?

E. All of the above.

As the Republican presidential contest moves down South, major news organizations are attempting — with varying levels of success — to go inside the minds of conservative Christian voters.

In a piece that drew banner attention last week on the Drudge Report, McClatchy's Washington bureau proclaims that Christian conservatives are "pivotal in the South" and "feeling under siege." (Just last week, Muslims were the ones "under siege." Hmmmm ...)

To prove its point, McClatchy takes readers to a laundromat next door to a Piggly Wiggly:

ROBERTA, Ga. — Inside the Sunshine Coin Laundry near the Piggly Wiggly supermarket, Lagretta Ellington removed her family’s clothes from one of the large dryers and began to neatly fold them on a nearby table.
The air was moist and smelled of detergent. The floor was concrete. Her views of the presidential race were anything but. She was unsettled, and distrustful. The candidates just seemed like entertainers.
“I’m going to pray on it,” the 48-year-old Ellington said. “Hopefully, God will lead me in the right direction.”

Please respect our Commenting Policy