Home > Uncategorized > Billy Graham Center Explains Survey on Evangelical Trump Voters

Wheaton College-based institute studied how and why both white and non-white believers voted in 2016.

The main takeway of the 2016 election for American evangelicals: they “feel committed to engaging the political process even when the candidates are far from ideal.”

So concludes the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College from its new survey, released in CT’s November issue, examining the oft-repeated statistic that 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016.

The institute commissioned LifeWay Research to survey 3,000 Americans—including more than 1,000 with evangelical beliefs—in order to better understand how both white and non-white evangelicals made their choice in 2016. (While most surveys only focus on white and self-identified evangelicals, today 1 in 3 is a person of color and 1 in 3 is a Democrat.)

Researchers found that among all American evangelicals by belief (as defined by the research protocol of the National Association of Evangelicals):

  • 53% said they voted for Donald Trump in 2016
  • 46% said they voted for Mitt Romney in 2012
  • 49% said they voted for John McCain in 2008
  • 69% said they voted for George W. Bush in 2004
  • 68% said they voted for George W. Bush in 2000
  • 45% said they voted for Bob Dole in 1996

The survey found that “only half of evangelical voters characterized their vote as voting for their specific candidate” in 2016, leading researchers to conclude that US evangelicals are “more issue-oriented than candidate-focused.”

“I see no reason that focus on issues won’t be repeated next month,” stated Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College [and a CT contributing editor and blogger], in a press release.

“In 2016, many evangelicals chose to look past a candidate as an individual …

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