Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Donald Trump's Pastor Problem: 40 Percent of Protestant Ministers Are Still Undecided

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Donald Trump's Pastor Problem: 40 Percent of Protestant Ministers Are Still Undecided

Article excerpt

A large number of Protestant pastors are undecided ahead of the election, and few of them have endorsed a candidate from the pulpit. Their indecision poses an issue for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In the past two elections, more of these pastors suggested they were firmly in the Republican camp. The number of "undecided" pastors (40 percent) outranks those who say they support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (19 percent) or Trump (32 percent), according to a new poll of 1,000 pastors. The new survey from the Christian polling LifeWay Research suggests that 4 percent of pastors support Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and 3 percent do not plan to vote.

The pastors who were polled have held very different opinions in the past. In the past two cycles, they favored Republicans by between 35 and 40 percentage points. This time, however, Trump's lead over Clinton is just 13 points. The reason Trump has less support is not because more pastors support Clinton but fewer pastors support Trump, and a higher number of pastors are still undecided.

The election has proven to be divisive for leaders and their flocks. While Trump has received endorsements from leaders of evangelical institutions and churches, such as Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Rev. Robert Jeffress, he has also been opposed by prominent leaders including Southern Baptist theologian Russell Moore and author Max Lucado.

Trump has made appeals to evangelicals by saying he would want to repeal the Johnson amendment, which bars tax-exempt organizations from participating in political activities. However, 98 percent of pastors said they have not endorsed a candidate during a church service this year.

"Enthusiasm for endorsements appears to be waning this year, Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement.

Pastors appear more reluctant to endorse outside church walls this year than they did in 2012. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.