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It’s The Economy Stupid: US Evangelicals Will Vote On Bread And Butter Issues

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It’s The Economy Stupid: US Evangelicals Will Vote On Bread And Butter Issues

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Party affiliation is a much stronger predictor of voting preferencesDonald Trump than faith, says missiologist Ed Stetzer. Evangelicals are not nearly as united behind any one candidate for the US presidency, in fact they are more divided than first thought, says Christian missiologist Dr. Ed Stetzer who holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College.

Surveys that focus on white evangelicals shape the way our non-evangelical neighbors see evangelical believers. So they often perceive us primarily as political adversaries or allies, rather than people primarily motivated by beliefs, he says.

“But our new definition shows that when we examine them by what they actually believe, American evangelicals are quite diverse.”

An Evangelical is someone who strongly agrees with these four statements:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Hillary Clinton -1400x600Looked at by what evangelicals believe, not just “white evangelicals” (who are overwhelmingly for Donald Trump), there is a very different story.

LifeWay Research conducted a survey before the second presidential debate (Sunday, October 9) and discovered that overall, less than half (45 percent) of likely voters with evangelical beliefs plan to vote for Donald Trump, according to the survey. A third (31 percent) support Hillary Clinton. Fifteen percent are undecided. One in 10 (9 percent) support a third-party candidate.

White Americans with evangelical beliefs favor Trump (65 percent) over Clinton (10 percent). Sixteen percent are undecided. Eight percent plan to vote for Gary Johnson.

African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans with evangelical beliefs support Clinton (62 percent) over Trump (15 percent). Thirteen percent are undecided. Seven percent support Gary Johnson.

Three-quarters of Republicans with evangelical beliefs plan to vote for Trump. Though a smaller sample, 75 percent of Democrats with evangelical beliefs plan to vote for Clinton.

The survey also found:

For Americans with evangelical beliefs, a candidate’s ability to improve the economy matters most (26 percent), followed by national security (22 percent) and personal character (15 percent). Few value Supreme Court nominees (10 percent), religious freedom (7 percent), immigration (5 percent), or abortion (4 percent).

 

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