WASHINGTON, D.C.—Ask any political pundit or religious affairs reporter in the U.S. if Donald J. Trump overwhelmingly won Evangelical Christians in 2020, and they will tell you, “of course.”
Except, it isn’t true.
It is certainly true that Trump overwhelmingly won White Evangelical, “born-again” Christians.
Indeed, an exit poll commissioned by ALL ISRAEL NEWS in November 2020 – and conducted by Trump’s own pollster, John McLaughlin – conclusively demonstrates that Trump won 79.4% of White Evangelicals. (This was down from 81% of White Evangelicals in 2016, but still impressive.)
Yet a new study looks more closely at the overall Evangelical vote.
The results: when you factor in Black, Hispanic and Latino Evangelicals – and especially when you factor in younger Evangelicals of all races – Joseph R. Biden, Jr. actually beat Trump, 42.4% to 39.9%.
Nearly 14% of all Evangelicals (13.7%) didn’t vote at all in 2020.
One reason that Biden beat Trump among Evangelicals is this: There is a growing trend towards theological and political liberalism inside the Evangelical movement in the U.S. that has received little, if any, coverage or analysis in the so-called “mainstream” corporate media.
This is particularly true among younger Evangelicals.
What’s more, Evangelicals under the age of 30 are shifting away from the pro-Israel views of their parents and grandparents, a fact that affected the 2020 election but has other long-term consequences, as well.
All week, I’ll be examining different sections of this fascinating new survey of America’s 60 million Evangelicals.
Yesterday, I focused on clear evidence from the survey that Evangelical Christians in the United States love Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, and they are concerned that Netanyahu’s departure from office will harm Israel’s relations with Christians.
Today, let’s focus on the stunning fact that Biden actually won the overall Evangelical vote and how younger Evangelicals view Israel and Biden.
FIRST, WHO CONDUCTED THE STUDY?
The survey is not only fascinating but credible.
Many Evangelicals are understandably suspicious of all polling because all too often they see the extreme bias of polls conducted by “mainstream” corporate media outlets.
But not all public opinion surveys are “fake news.”
This one certainly is not.
Even if you’re not happy with the results – and/or don’t want to believe them – you should be paying close attention.
The study was designed and conducted by Dr. Kirill Bumin and Dr. Motti Inbari, both of whom are experienced and respected professors at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP).
It was commissioned by Chosen People Ministries and the Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem, a coalition of Evangelical scholars, seminary professors, ministry leaders and authors, including myself, who helped found it in 2017.
It was fielded by the Barna Group in July, after Netanyahu left office (but before the very serious tensions between Bibi and former President Donald Trump became known).
Together, the professors and Barna surveyed 1,000 Evangelical or born-again Christians.
HOW DID YOUNGER EVANGELICALS VOTE?
One of the most striking results in the study is how decisively younger Evangelicals broke for Biden.
A stunning 58.3% of Evangelicals under 30 years old say they voted for Biden.
By contrast, only 38.1% of Evangelicals over the age of 30 say they supported Biden.
Meanwhile, 45.5% of Evangelicals over 30 voted for Trump.
Yet only 19.3% of Evangelicals under 30 voted for Trump.
The rest of voting-age Evangelicals either didn’t vote, voted for another candidate or refused to answer the question.
HOW DO YOUNGER EVANGELICALS VIEW THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT?
Another striking result of the survey is that younger Evangelicals are becoming far less supportive of Israel than their parents and grandparents.
At the same time, they are becoming far more supportive of the Palestinian cause than older Evangelicals.
Only a combined 11.9% of younger Evangelicals of all races and backgrounds say they have “support for Israel” or “very strong support for Israel.”
Even if you add in younger Evangelicals who say they “lean toward support for Israel,” the combined total only reaches 28.9%.
By sharp contrast, 41.5% of older Evangelicals of all races and backgrounds say they have “support for Israel” or “very strong support for Israel.”
When you add in older Evangelicals who say they “lean toward support for Israel,” the combined total reaches 55.8%.
Meanwhile, a combined total of 45.4% of younger Evangelicals say they support the Palestinian cause.
By sharp contrast, only 12.3% of older Evangelicals say they support the Palestinian cause.
HOW DO YOUNGER EVANGELICALS VIEW THE RECENT GAZA WAR?
These trends notably affect how younger Evangelicals view the rocket war that took place between terrorists in Gaza and Israel in May 2021.
Only 31.2% of Evangelicals under 30 say they took Israel’s side during the war, compared with 43.8% of older Evangelicals.
Fully 26.2% of younger Evangelicals say they took the Palestinians’ side, compared with only 5.9% of older Evangelicals.
The numbers were more comparable regarding those who say they took neither side (36.2% of younger Evangelicals and 38% of older Evangelicals — the rest said they didn’t know).
HOW DO YOUNGER EVANGELICALS THINK BIDEN WILL TREAT ISRAEL?
Older American Evangelicals are deeply concerned that Biden’s election will harm Israel.
Some Evangelicals under 30 agree, but far fewer than their parents and grandparents.
32.9% of Evangelicals over 30 say that Biden’s election will not only “hurt” the relationship between Israel and the U.S., but will “hurt it a lot.”
By contrast, barely half of Evangelicals under 30 believe that (16.5%).
Almost 1-in-3 younger Evangelicals (29.8) think Biden’s election will only hurt U.S.-Israel relations “a little.”
Meanwhile, almost 4-in-10 (38.5%) younger Evangelicals say Biden won’t harm U.S.-Israel relations at all.
IDEOLOGY: WHO ARE AMERICAN EVANGELICALS?
A plurality of Evangelicals (41.8%) define themselves on the conservative side of the spectrum – ranging from 10.3% who say they are “somewhat conservative” politically all the way to 15.5% who say they are “extremely conservative.”
Yet a surprising 1-in-4 Evangelicals (25.9%) describe themselves on the liberal or progressive side of the political spectrum, including 7.4% who say they are “extremely liberal.”
Meanwhile, 1-in-3 (32.3%) say they are moderates.
This ideological diversity helps explain why:
36% of Evangelicals identify as Republicans.
12.2% identify as Independents leaning Republican.
Combined, a total of 48.2% of all Evangelicals say they identify more with the Republican Party and its candidates.
It also helps explain why:
Fully 36.9% of Evangelicals identify as Democrats.
Some 9.3% identify as Independents leaning Democrat.
Combined, a total of 46.2% of all Evangelicals who say they tend to identify more with the Democratic Party and its candidates.
The rest see themselves as Independents or affiliate with other small political parties.
If Evangelicals of all races and backgrounds had voted for their generally preferred political parties, Trump should have won Evangelicals by a split of 48.4% to 46.2%.
The fact that Biden actually beat Trump among all Evangelicals by a split of 42.4% to 39.9% shows how significantly Trump underperformed among a group he thought was his.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.