Yeah, yeah, we don’t try to get all political in these parts, but when there’s data worth sharing, share it we must.
Researcher Jana Riess was kind enough to analyze Pew Research Center’s most recently released polling data on approval rates of US president Donald Trump among religious groups. Unsurprisingly, evangelicals continue to back the president by the largest margins, with 69% approving of his job performance. Still, that represents a decline from 78% as reported previously.
But it is the erstwhile “Mormons,” now known as Latter-day Saints forever and ever, that might surprise some with levels of support. Roughly 52% of Mormons approve of President Trump while 39% disapprove of him.
Now before you get in a huff and wonder why on earth a slim majority of your faith community approves of that monster in the Oval Office, or conversely, why on earth more Latter-day Saints are not rising to the opportunity to get in line and support our leader, it’s worth noting that Trump’s numbers are significantly lower than what previous Republican presidents received. From 2001-2003, at the height of post-9/11 war on terror hysteria, 77% of Mormons approved of George W. Bush and a slim 13% disapproved. Shocking no one, approval rates for Democrat Barack Obama were much lower from 2009-2011 at 28%, with 60% in disapproval. Leftists tendencies may be on the rise among younger Latter-day Saints, but Mormons as a whole remain firmly in the GOP camp, even if in 2016 a number of them couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Trump.
Utah, for better or worse, often serves as a microcosm of Mormonism, and it’s worth noting that Trump’s 52% approval rating among Latter-day Saints is six points higher than his disappointing victory in Utah in 2016. (Hillary Clinton supporters will be quick to note that had all Evan McMullin voters swung her way, she would have won the state.)
What is perhaps most interesting is the way Trump love spreads out across genders. Latter-day Saint men approve of Trump by 21 points more than women — 63% to 42% — and more women disapprove, 45%, than approve. Men tend to vote more conservatively, in general, but those numbers also speak to Trump’s difficulty reaching female voters compared to other politicians. Indeed, suburban women played a large role in flipping the House back to Democrats in the 2018 election, in many instances driven by opposition to the Trump administration.
Lastly, and in analysis that will rock the earth of anyone who hasn’t spent five minutes perusing your parents’ Facebook community, age plays a factor, with Mormons over 50 approving of Trump by a significant margin. A plurality of those under 50 still support Trump, but only by 2 points more than those who disapprove – within the margin of error.
Click the link above and read more from Jana Riess.