White evangelical voters helped Joe Biden nationally and in Michigan and Georgia

In the 2020 election, 27% of voters identified as either “white evangelical” or a “white born-again Christian.”

According to Edison Research, 76% of them voted for Trump and 24% voted for Biden. This means that Biden received four million more white evangelical votes than Hillary Clinton received in 2020. (Biden is currently leading Trump by more than 6 million votes nationwide).

Here is some exit polling. If these exit polls are correct, it appears that the white evangelical vote helped Biden in Michigan and Georgia. (We don’t have polling for the evangelical vote in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin).

Biden won 29% of the white evangelical vote in Michigan. In 2016, Clinton won 14% of that vote.

In Georgia, Biden won 14% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 5% of that vote.

In Iowa, Biden won 24% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 25% of that vote.

In North Carolina, Biden won 14% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 17% of that vote.

In South Carolina, Biden won 13% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 11% of that vote.

In Ohio, Biden won 18% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 20% of that vote.

In Texas, Biden won 13% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 12% of that vote.

In Virginia, Biden won 19% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 14% of that vote.

An early critic of political polls

Political pollsters are under the gun again. Some of them did not anticipate Donald Trump’s ability to win votes in the 2020 presidential election. The debate over the usefulness of polling continues to rage in the wake of November 3.

Let’s bring some historical perspective to this topic. Over at Politico, Rutgers University history David Greenberg introduces us to Lindsay Rogers, one of the earliest critics of political polling. Here is a taste:

At bottom…Rogers’ critique wasn’t methodological. At a philosophical level, he rejected the very idea that public opinion was measurable in the concrete way that the pollsters alleged. Public opinion was too inchoate to lend itself to precise measurement, even when fine-tuned with open-ended questions, scales of intensity and other methodological tweaks that had been introduced over the years. Public opinion, he said, wasn’t like distance or mass or other scientifically measurable phenomena; it had no freestanding existence apart from the operation of measuring it. Polling thus pretended to quantify the unquantifiable. Like others in the increasingly data-driven social sciences, Rogers charged, the public opinion analysts were following false gods of methodology. Properly understanding the public required not pseudo-scientific methods but human insight.

Along with many others, [pollster George] Gallup pushed back against Lindsay, calling him “the last of the arm-chair philosophers in this field.” And while Gallup’s name, owing to his lucrative polling business, endured through the decades, Rogers’ faded into relative obscurity. Political science became inexorably more quantitative and data-driven, leaving behind his concerns about its pretensions to scientific status. Moreover, the profits that commercial pollsters reaped — alongside, perhaps, Gallup-like hopes of improving democracy — ensured that the practice of election-season survey-taking would not subside anytime soon. Over the years, critics from both the world of journalism (columnist Mike Royko, polemicist Christopher Hitchens) and academia (political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg, journalism historian W. Joseph Campbell) have kept alive Rogers’ skepticism, but on the whole Americans have continued to be seduced every election season by the pollsters’ allure.

Read the entire piece here.

The new CNN poll is damning for Trump

We still have four weeks go, but if this poll holds up, Biden will win in a blow-out. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

Nationally, Biden leads 57% to 41%.

48% of Americans approve of how Trump is handling the economy. 48% disapprove.

38% of Americans approve of how Trump is handling election security. 55% disapprove.

39% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Trump. 55% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.

52% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Biden. 42% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Biden.

38% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Mike Pence. 49% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Pence. 6% of Americans have “never heard of” Mike Pence.

47% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Kamala Harris. 36% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Harris. 9% of Americans have “never heard of” Kamala Harris.

Likely voters believe that Biden is better than Trump on the economy (50-48), coronavirus (59-38), health care (59-39), racial equality (62-36), Supreme Court nominations (57-41), and crime and safety (55-43).

Voters think Biden cares about them more than Trump (58-38), is better suited to unite the country than Trump (61-33), has a better plan to solve American problems than Trump (55-39), will keep them safer than Trump (55-43), and is more trustworthy than Trump (58-33).

58% of Americans who watched the first presidential debate thought Biden won it. 27% thought Trump won the first presidential debate. 13% said that “neither of them did well.”

Read the entire poll here.

And as long as we are doing polls, here are the latest Real Clear Politics poll averages from the major battleground states.

Wisconsin: Biden is up 5.6% (Trump won by 0.7% in 2016)

Florida: Biden is up 3.5% (Trump won by 1.2% in 2016)

Michigan: Biden is up 6.2% (Trump won by 0.3% in 2016)

North Carolina: Biden is up 1.4% (Trump won by 3.6% in 2016)

Arizona: Biden is up 3.4% (Trump won by 3.5% in 2016)

Minnesota: Biden is up 9.4% (Clinton won by 1.5% in 2016)

Ohio: Biden is up 1.2% (Trump won by 8.1% in 2016)

Iowa: Biden is up 0.5% (Trump won by 9.4% in 2016)

Nevada: Biden is up 5.3% (Clinton won by 2.4% in 2016)

New Hampshire: Biden is up 8.4% (Clinton won by 0.3 in 2016)

Maine: Biden is up 12.8% (Clinton won by 2.9% in 2016)

Virginia: Biden is up 11% (Clinton won by 5.4% in 2016)

Georgia: Biden is up 0.3% (Trump won by 5.1% in 2016)

Texas: Trump is up 3.2% (Trump won by 9 in 2016)

Colorado: Biden is up 10% (Clinton won by 4.9% in 2016)

New Mexico: Biden is up 14.5 (Clinton won by 8.3% in 2016)

The “Fate of Pluralism” in America


The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has released a new study titled “American Democracy in Crisis: The Fate of Pluralism in a Divided Nation.”   Maxine Najle and Robert Jones are the authors.  Here are some of my quick takeaways:

  •  The number of white evangelicals who have a favorable view of Donald Trump was higher in 2018 than it was in 2016.  (It is, however, slightly down from 2017).
  • White evangelicals “remain the only major religious group in which a majority holds a favorable view of the president.”  For more on why I think this is the case, see my argument in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.
  • White Americans with a college degree (78%) are “substantially likelier than whites without a college degree (56%) to say they interact with someone who does not share their race or ethnicity at least once a week.”
  • “Fully half (50%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say they interact with people who do not share their religious affiliation within their family, compared to 32% of white mainline Protestants, 30% of Catholics, 26% of nonwhite Protestants, and 25% of white evangelical Protestants.”  If I am reading this correctly, it appears that Protestants of all varieties (mainline, nonwhite and white evangelical) do not spend much time with family members who do not share their faith.   Religious faith trumps blood?
  • Americans are “most likely to view their interactions with people who do not share their political affiliation in a negative light.” There are “no significant differences between partisans on this question.”  This, of course, reveals the incivility of our political discourse in the United States.
  • Republicans are three times more likely as independents and Democrats “to say they would be unhappy if their child married someone of a different religious background.”  White evangelicals stand out among religious groups on this question by a significant margin over nonwhite Protestants, Catholics, and mainline white Protestants.
  • “When faced with the prospect of their child marrying someone who identifies with the opposite political party, Democrats are likelier than Republicans to say they would be unhappy.”  Interesting.
  • Nearly 30% of white evangelicals would “be unhappy if their son or daughter married a Democrat.”
  • 66% of white evangelicals would “be at least somewhat unhappy if their son or daughter married  someone of the same gender.”  Frankly, I thought this number would be higher.
  • 60% of white evangelicals prefer “a nation primarily made up of people who follow Christian faith.”  Only 8% of white evangelicals prefer a “nation made up of people belonging  to a wide variety of religions.”

There is a lot more here.

72% of Republicans Think Donald Trump is a Good Role Model for Children


According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 72% of Republicans say that Donald Trump is a good role model for children.

Other findings:

  • 54% of white voters with no college degree believe Trump IS NOT a good role model for children.
  • 63% of Americans say that Trump does not provide the United States with moral leadership.
  • 80% of Republicans believe that Trump does provide moral leadership
  • 27% of Americans say that they are “proud” to have Donald Trump as their POTUS
  • 60% of Americans say Trump is not honest
  • 59% of Americans say Trump does not have good leadership skills
  • 57% of Americans believe that Trump doesn’t care about average Americans
  • 60% of Americans think he is not level-headed
  • 61% of Americans say Trump is a “strong person.”

Read more here.