Majority of Pastors Approve Trump’s Performance as President

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The President is most popular among white clergy.

President Donald J. Trump continues to be a polarizing figure not only among the general population but also among those who he professes to hold dear: the pastors who hustle up the kind of voters who give their approval to Trump. As per a Lifeway Research conducted study, 51 percent of U.S. pastors approve the job performance of the president. Only 25 percent gave their unequivocal support to Trump.

Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research's executive director, said that after nearly two years of statements and actions from the Trump administration, the few pastors would consider what happened positive and a few negative. He, however, pointed out when the same respondents were asked without the neutral option, a majority of pastors approved the presidential record.

Not every pastor is happy. According to the survey, approximately 28 percent of pastors expressed displeasure with the performance of the president. Another 20 percent indicated they were in two minds concerning Trump. The unwillingness to take a definite stand on Trump has its roots in the respondents' negativity to identify with any political sides which are seen in present-day U.S. politics. As per McConnell, the divide can be linked to the political leanings of the pastor concerned.

It was found by researchers that an overwhelming 85 percent of the African-American clergy were unhappy about Trump. Only six percent identified themselves as GOP in 2016. The picture is much different when it comes to white pastors, with 54 percent approving the present incumbent of the White House. Age groups were a major support issue for Trump, with clergy aged 45 years and above showing a bias for Trump (56 percent) compared to younger pastors aged 44 years and below (41 percent). McConnell said the results are not surprising as most Protestant pastors identify themselves as GOP supporters and it is a given that President Trump will enjoy majority approval during his first term.

Lifeway Research conducted the study over about two weeks, from August 29 to September 11, 2018. The survey was made over the phone where 1,000 Protestant pastors were called up and asked a series of questions. Those who were called were a part of a stratified random sample, with the members retrieved from multiple Protestant churches. The size of the church was compensated through the use of quotas. Every interview was done with the called church priest, minister, or senior pastor. The responses were then weighted in to mirror the population.

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