Trump losing, Carson gaining evangelicals

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Seal of the Iowa Republican Party

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Seal of the Iowa Republican Party

Seal of the Iowa Republican Party

Seal of the Iowa Republican Party

In Iowa, for sure. A month ago, Quinnipiac had Trump leading Ben Carson 27 percent to 21 percent among likely Republican caucus-goers. Now Carson is ahead of Trump 28 percent to 20 percent, according to the latest Q-poll .

The explanation is that whereas around Labor Day Iowa evangelicals supported Carson over Trump by a modest seven points (27-20), they currently do so by better than two-to-one (36-17). The latest Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll shows the same shift. The only other candidate with double-digit appeal to evangelicals is preacher’s son Ted Cruz (13), just where he was a month ago.

For three decades, the question in contested GOP presidential primaries has been: Which establishment candidate is going to get the evangelical base to support him? The answers were George H. W. Bush (1988), Bob Dole (1996), George W. Bush (2000), John McCain (2008), and Mitt Romney (2012).

In the last two election cycles, the evangelicals were noticeably harder to round up. In Iowa, where they constitute nearly 60 percent of GOP caucus-goers, they made winners of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, and kept their candidacies alive longer than either deserved.

The most recent national poll  (PPP)to track evangelicals shows Trump leading Carson narrowly among evangelicals. But as Iowa goes, so goes evangelical nation.

The problem for the Republican establishment is that, thus far, the evangelicals don’t like any of its candidates. At the moment, its best shot seems to be Marco Rubio, he of shifting religious identities — Catholic, Mormon, evangelical, and Catholic again. In the latest Iowa Q-poll, Rubio comes in third, with 13 percent of all Republicans and nine percent of evangelicals. Not since Barry Goldwater captured the nomination in 1964, has the establishment had so long a row to hoe.

  • Larry

    The real question is what Evangelicals saw in Trump in the first place? The guy is openly contemptuous of them personally and their political agenda. Yet they were lapping it up.

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  • Doc Anthony

    Evangelicals are both desperate and divided right now, Larry. A few of them are actually closet liberals, they’re on YOUR side.

    Trump is just like Hillary and Obama: He knows that most American voters (on ALL sides!), are just shrugging their low-information shoulders and voting for their pocketbooks. No joke.

    Voters don’t have time to do any homework, and their religious labels simply don’t mean much at the ballot box. (IF they can be persuaded to vote at all, that is.)

    As for Trump, he correctly calculated that jaded and tired voters (and media) wanted to see a politician — any politician at all — NOT be a slave to polls and political correctness. So Trump said a few shock-rock one-liners to generate some buzz. It worked for a while.

    But you’re right Larry — Trump’s is clearly NOT a friend of evangelicals or what evangelicals believe. Neither is Obama. Neither is Hillary.

    (Mike Huckabee IS a real friend, but evangelicals don’t care.)

  • samuel johnston

    Evangelicals control large regions of the political countryside, but not anywhere near enough voters to counterbalance the large population centers of the coasts. They have long become accustomed to a persecution mentality, because they have failed to gain the national power that they crave, and think they deserve. They are the mirror image of the Progressives. The majority of voters are not interested in “causes”. They just want competent, effective government. Because the two party system cannot provide that, we are overdue for a third party sweep to power.

  • Bob

    Support from evangelicals is not something to be proud of and is probably not going to matter much.

  • alyr

    What are you even talking about “openly contemptuous”? WHEN?

    LOSING? First of all, second place is NOT losing.

    Secondly, a new poll today has them TIE at 27.

    The ONLY reason Carson caught up is because corrupt thieves Club For Growth spent $1 Million on negative ads before those polls. The fact that you don’t even ACKNOWLEDGE that, shows you’re either ignorant or deceptive.

    Third, Trump has a LIFETIME record being Presby and was brought up in Marble Collegiate Church.

    You people want someone SCREAMING religion and quoting Bible versus which only proves you couldn’t care less about the actual ELECTION.

    And alot of good BUSH did anyone.

    AND you fell for OBAMA LIES even though EVERYONE knew he only attended Rev Wrights hateful racist anti-American church because he was a community organizer.

    Don’t worry – Trump will get out the voters who don’t care about religion and save Iowa from looking like idiots again.

  • What I find so interesting about Ben Carson is his appeal to all those who are dedicated to a principled life. America is losing its sense of itself. Morals and ethics are on a decline. Liberty is waning. Pursuit of truth is sullied by misinformation or distraction. Ben Carson appeals to my devoted Christian friends. And he appeals to my friends who love American history, the constitution, and the spirit of 1776. Interestingly, he also appeals to my friends who are dedicated to an open-ended (sometimes non-traditional Christian) spiritual or metaphysical quest. I believe that Ben Carson appeals to all of these three groupings because of his integrity, principles, love for our country, love for the people, and love for God. He supports everything good about our country that we are otherwise losing.

  • samuel johnston

    ” Pursuit of truth is sullied by misinformation or distraction.”
    Pursuit of truth is not very high on the Christian agenda. Pursuit of truth requires that one does not prejudge. Faith before understanding is St. Paul’s Christian requirement. The two goals are not compatible. Socretes said, you must follow the argument wherever it leads. If it leads away from Christianity, then what?

  • Larry

    Trump is not even going through the motions of paying lip service to the Evangelical Christian political agenda. He is only as anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-separation of church and state as needed to court their vote. He has given next to zero consideration for such subjects in public

    Marble Collegiate Church is a fairly progressive sect and they already made it known he is not an active member. It would actually hurt him with that crowd.

    “You people want someone SCREAMING religion and quoting Bible versus”

    Evangelicals generally want someone doing that. They tend to vote for that type.

    Trump is largely ignoring the bible thumper vote to instead focus on the nativist one. After all, when given a choice, bigotry against other races and ethnicities tends to gather more people than sectarian bigotry.

  • WWZ

    I should be shocked by the evangelical vote for Carson but I am not. All one must do is use the words “God” and “anti-abortion” and they get the evangelical vote. The fact that open borders and bad trade deals where U.S. sovereignty is taken away and the constitution is trashed, dooming their children and grandchildren, is not a problem for evangelicals. Just say “God” enough and you have their vote, even if the candidate really doesn’t believe in their version of “God”. The fact that nothing in Carson’s résumé qualifies him to run a country, not a problem, just use the word “God” and hold up a bible. Irrational statements like drone striking, bombing, the U.S. to punish Mexican drug dealers, not a problem, just say “God” and hold the bible up. The fact that he has no viable policies, not a problem. Thankfully, Iowa never picks winners. We have one actual candidate who loves the U.S., is qualified to run the country because he can very successfully run a business, has actual…

  • WWZ

    (ran out of words) We have one actual candidate who loves the U.S., is qualified to run the country because he can very successfully run a business, has actual published policies, and can shake up D.C., and the evangelicals will deliver us Carson and sink their only chance to change things. But hey, they will pray about it afterwards when things continue to deteriorate in the U.S. Oh and let’s not forget Carson’s integrity when he was a spokesperson for a snake oil company (that was repeatedly sued even for someone’s death) and the response from his campaign, Carson won’t be addressing that. Yup, evangelicals sure are smart.