Statistically speaking, if you’re a religious American, the coronavirus pandemic is probably one of your top concerns as you consider how to cast your vote for the next President. That is of course, unless you’re a white evangelical. A new study from PRRI found that not only are white evangelicals outliers when it comes to their concern (or lack thereof) about the coronavirus pandemic regarding the next election — they’re outliers on pretty much every major issue of top concern for voters.
“White evangelical Protestants do seem to be out on a limb on their policy views and views of Trump,” Natalie Jackson, PRRI’s director of research told Religion News Service. For white evangelicals, terrorism and abortion are listed as their biggest issues as they head into the voting booths this year.
By comparison, Black Protestants are more concerned about racial inequality, the pandemic and election fairness. Hispanic Protestants are concerned about healthcare, crime and the pandemic. Hispanic Catholics are uniquely concerned about jobs and unemployment, the pandemic and election fairness. No other religious group surveyed had abortion or terrorism among their top three concerns.
White evangelicals are bucking a number of election season trends. Only 35 percent of Americans approve of how President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic. But among white evangelicals, 76 percent approve of the job he’s doing. The majority of every religious group in the U.S. think Trump has damaged the “dignity” of the office he holds …except for white evangelicals, where only 20 percent agree. In fact, 59 percent of white evangelicals think the country is moving in the right direction — the only religious group with a majority who think so.
One other question may reveal some insights into why. 71 percent of white evangelicals say they believe God has granted the U.S. a “special role” in global history — the only religious majority who think so.
Interestingly, there was a question on which all religious groups surveyed agreed. When asked whether the U.S. sets a good moral example for the rest of the world, no majority in any group said yes. Only 33 percent of white Catholics, 29 percent of white mainline Protestants, 28 percent of white evangelicals and 14 percent of Black Protestants agreed.
You can read the whole study here.