White evangelical Protestants have never held President Trump’s possible moral shortcomings against him, supporting him despite his string of marriages, occasionally foul language and questionable familiarity with Biblical teaching. Although Mr. Trump has boasted about grabbing women in vulgar language, and referred to Second Corinthians as “Two Corinthians” in a pre-election forum, 81% of white evangelical Protestants supported Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.
The president has counted white evangelical Protestant leaders like Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell Jr. as some of his strongest allies since taking office. While they may recoil at his abrasive language, white evangelical Protestants are largely pleased with Mr. Trump’s role in nominating conservative judges to the federal bench. Although many faith leaders opposed Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria — televangelist Pat Robertson warned that Mr. Trump was “in danger of losing the mandate of heaven” — a new poll suggests that white evangelical Protestants are sticking with the president through the impeachment inquiry.
According to a poll released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization, 99% of white evangelical Protestants oppose the impeachment and removal of Mr. Trump from office. This is an even greater percentage than overall Republicans, 94% of which oppose the impeachment and removal of Mr. Trump. (Ninety-nine percent of Republicans who watch Fox News, a subsection that likely overlaps with white evangelical protestants, also oppose impeachment and removal.)
The PRRI poll was conducted between August 22 and September 15.
Separately, an NPR/Marist poll published in late September found that 74% of white evangelical Protestants opposed the House opening an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.
While the PRRI poll found that 77% of white evangelical Protestants approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing in office, only 54% of white mainline Protestants and 48% of white Catholics approve of his job performance. There are also divides along racial lines: 72% of Hispanic Catholics and 86% of black Protestants disapprove of Mr. Trump’s job performance.
There is also widespread disagreement over whether Mr. Trump has encouraged white supremacist violence while in office. Seventy percent of white evangelical Protestants, 51% of white mainline Protestants, and 46% of white Catholics say that Mr. Trump has not had an impact on white supremacist groups, according to the PRRI poll. However, 78% of black Protestants say that Mr. Trump’s decisions and behavior have encouraged white supremacist groups.
Still, Mr. Trump’s support among white evangelical Protestants is not completely ironclad. An NPR/Marist poll from earlier in September found that 62% of white evangelical Protestants definitely plan to vote for Mr. Trump. And if he does hold onto their support, that demographic may not be enough to swing the election in his favor.
The total sample in the PRRI poll was 2,527 (including 343 white evangelical Protestants). The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context and order effects.