According to a new survey by researcher Dr. George Barna and The Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, President Trump will have more support from conservative Christians in the 2020 presidential election than in 2016.
The survey, which was commissioned by the Family Research Council (FRC), looked at a key group of conservative Christians known as SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians), who was the “most united body” of Trump supporters in the 2016 election.
In 2016, about 91 percent of SAGE Cons voted in the election with 93 percent of them voting for Trump. Four years later, the amount would increase with 96 percent of SAGE Cons who are likely to vote for the president for a second term.
Despite the high amount, the reasoning behind the SAGE Cons support of Trump differed in both elections.
When Trump ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016, SAGE Cons were reluctant in their vote for Trump, but they could not vote for Clinton because of her policies. In 2020, however, SAGE Cons feel more confident in voting for Trump in light of his first term achievements.
The research found that amongst the ten issues that most influence how the SAGE Cons will vote in the 2020 election, the top-ranked issues for the group were pro-life policies (52 percent), religious freedom (43 percent), federal court appointments (43 percent), law and order (26 percent) and the economy (24 percent).
The FRC study also showed how the SAGE Cons perception of Trump changed in the past four years when it came to his personal traits. The group was more likely to view Trump as trustworthy (19 percent in 2016 vs. 63 percent in 2020), smart (35 percent vs. 76 percent), and presidential (15 percent to 53 percent), among other traits where he was viewed more favorably.
Moreover, the FRC noted that there was a 26 percent drop from SAGE Cons who viewed him as arrogant (59 percent in 2016 to 33 percent in 2020).
For Democratic nominee Joe Biden, however, SAGE Con’s viewed him more negatively as they felt that he is incompetent (85 percent), dishonest (82 percent), mentally unstable
(75 percent), and senile (74 percent).
The FRC survey, which was conducted online in September 2020, featured a national sample of 1,600 Sage Cons, which represent about 9 percent of the general population. Nevertheless, the research shows that the group will likely have an “outsized influence” on the outcome of the 2020 election.
Additionally, the 96 percent of SAGE Cons voting for Trump had already made up their minds on Labor Day with more than two-thirds saying that it was highly unlikely for them to change their minds.
In contrast, less than one-half of one percent of the group will vote for Biden.
Earlier this year, the American Worldview Inventory 2020 surveys conducted by Barna and the Cultural Research Center found that SAGE Cons held to traditional Biblical teachings and politically conservative views, in which both variables influence their votes in an election.
Barna also gave his take on the current national polls, where Biden leads Trump in double-digits, and whether or not they can be trusted in 2020.
The veteran researcher noted there seems to be a ‘hidden’ Trump vote, “probably in the range of four to eight percentage points,” that is not shown in the polls. He explained that the mainstream media have often “misrepresented the incidence of party identification of the voting population,” as a higher proportion of Democrats is featured over Republicans. In turn, Barna said it would effectively skew the survey results.
Barna added that the media “seem to indiscriminately report surveys regardless of whether they measure the views of all adults, of registered voters, or of likely voters.”
“Those are different populations and will therefore produce significantly different outcomes;
treating them as if they are the same is inappropriate,” he argued, adding that the representative samples are also overlooked.
Lastly, Barna stressed the importance of the electoral vote over the national vote in determining the winner of the presidential election.
“Finally, consider the lesson learned in the polling of 2016,” he noted. “Many national polls accurately predicted the national vote but predicted the wrong winner—because we don’t elect a president based on the national vote count, but on the basis of Electoral College votes.”
“Without breaking down the data state by state, we again run the risk of misdiagnosing where
things stand—and may inappropriately affect peoples’ motivation to vote,” Barna concluded.
Photo courtesy: Screenshot/PBS News Hour video
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.