We all know that white evangelicals are Donald Trump’s biggest religious supporters. But as we contemplate his poor approval ratings, we should ask how the new president is faring on the larger American religious spectrum.
By way of an answer, let’s compare two Pew surveys presidential approval, one conducted in November of 2013, the other this month. The first has Americans disapproving of Barack Obama’s performance by 53 percent to 41 while the second shows them disapproving of Trump’s by 54 percent to 39 percent.
In other words, the surveys enable us to compare shifts on the part of the country’s major religious groups within nearly identical overall approval/disapproval ratings of the two presidents.
In the three-and-a-half-year span, Protestants as a whole went from disapproving of Obama’s performance by 36-61 to approving of Trump’s by 51-43, for a total shift of 33 points. This is counterbalanced by a 10-point shift in the opposite direction among Catholics (from a 46-48 disapproval of Obama to a 42-54 disapproval of Trump), plus a substantial 48-point shift among Nones (from a 47-45 approval of Obama to a 23-67 disapproval of Trump).
Nones disapprove of Trump at almost exactly the rate they voted last November — 25 percent for him and 67 percent for Hillary Clinton.