President Donald Trump’s base of support among evangelical Christians may finally be weakening as political news continues to be dominated by the latest revelations about hush payments, lying, and extra-marital affairs.
During a Saturday interview with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Washington Post identity politics reporter Eugene Scott explained how a small erosion in Republicans’ support from evangelicals could play a major role in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Eugene, I want to get to something you’ve written about, the white evangelicals, their unwavering support for the president despite the sex scandals, despite the ethics issues, but you’ve written about a shift in tone there,” Witt said. “What’s behind it?”
“We often look at some groups that are on the Trump train like white evangelicals and white working class voters and Republicans and say, ‘they’re already on board and are never getting off.’ But, incrementally we’re seeing some polling numbers drop,” Scott reported.
“Specifically when it comes to white evangelicals, support among white evangelical women for Trump is going down,” he continued.
“And this really does matter — even if not so much for Trump — but for the GOP as a whole, because as we head into midterms this fall, voters are going to ask themselves, do they want to put people in office and send them to Washington who are going to reinforce everything about the Trump agenda that they find troublesome or are they going to want to sit out?” Scott noted.
“Not necessarily vote for a Democrat, but are they just going to want to sit out?” he wondered. “We have to remember that when it comes to these tribes, small percentage points really do matter.”
In his Washington Post analysis, Scott went in-depth on Trump’s increasingly precarious relationship with evangelicals.
“As the term of the man Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. called evangelicals’ ‘dream president’ marches on, so do the sex scandals and other ethics issues,” Scott noted. “And evangelicals concerned about their cultural significance beyond the Trump administration are rethinking their affiliation with the president.”
“Republicans do not risk losing white evangelicals as a whole to Democrats,” he explained. “But every percentage point counts, and considering how close recent congressional races have been, Trump cannot really afford for any of his supporters to stay home.”