The GOP bears its cross, by Stephen Alcorn

Clinton v. Trump shrinks the God Gap

The GOP bears its cross, by Stephen Alcorn

The GOP bears its cross, by Stephen Alcorn

As our attention shifts from the primaries to the general election, for the first time in years religiosity looks like it's going to matter less than gender in determining the presidential vote.

Between men and women the divide is huge when it comes to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. According to the latest GW Battleground Poll -- which has Clinton leading Trump 46 percent to 43 percent -- women favor Clinton over Trump 54 percent to 35 percent while men go the other way 52 percent to 37 percent. Adding the two differentials yields a 34-point gender gap that far outstrips the 20-point gap between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney  in 2012 -- itself the largest such gap in Gallup Poll history.

By contrast, the Battleground Poll has the Clinton-Trump God gap at under 15 points, with those who say they go to church at least once a week preferring Trump to Clinton by nine points and those attending less frequently preferring Clinton to Trump by less than six. That compares to a God gap in 2012 of nearly 40 points.

Since the God gap became salient in the 1990s, it's always exceeded the gender gap. Not, evidently, this year. Between women's support for one of their own and the misogyny of the other candidate, gender identity is trumping religion.

This can be seen in a number of other Battleground metrics. A significant gender gap has, for example, opened up between male and female evangelicals (white and otherwise), with the former supporting Trump over Clinton two-to-one and the latter backing Clinton over Trump 48 percent to 44 percent.

Then there's the decline in support for the Democratic presidential candidate on the part of the Nones. They voted for Obama over Romney 70 percent to 26 percent but support Clinton over Trump by just 59 percent to 28 percent. Did I mention that Nones are disproportionately male?

In fact, except for the Nones, Battleground shows only one religious demographic group trending toward Trump. Roman Catholics voted for Obama over Romney by a couple of points but are now supporting Trump over Clinton 45 percent to 39 percent. Does this reflect a deep-seated Catholic proclivity for having a man at the top? In the immortal words of Francis Urquhart, "You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment."


  1. Though it appears that on Election Day as a Bernie Sanders supporter I will have to write his name in on my ballot, along the way all will be entertained by Donald Trump’s big show and showing:

    Politicians that are seen to meet the needs of the times exhibit a capacity to grow and Trump shows this and keeps showing it more and more in two-steps-forward with but one-step-back. In dismal contrast Hillary Clinton exhibits no such capacity and only morphs and morphs in ugly reflection of growth shown by others but which is not of her dead-root own. Before this is over Trump will look to be standing with the masses of people a beacon on the hill and Hillary will have framed herself as the gross and twisted portrait of the remains of Dorian Gray.

    Trump appearing as the Rhinestone Cowboy right off the streets of New York, New York riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo.

  2. Overlooking the fact that “spiritual politics” is an oxymoron, (“Trump” and “growth” another big one!) this tells me that many of the same people who are projecting all their adolescent schoolyard hero-worship into their savior Donald Trump are also the same ones who see women merely as sexual objects and trophy wives. Big surprise there, Mark!

  3. Sam, you need to read Sabelotodo’s comment below.

  4. Don’t read too much into the preference for Trump among Catholics. Remember that Catholics are a diverse group. There are people who identify as Catholics who attend Mass every week, who are active in their faith, and who look to the Church for guidance on matters spiritual. There are people who identify as Catholics who rarely or ever attend Mass, who are not active in their faith, and who never think about Church teaching on matters spiritual. Hence one cannot look at “Catholics” as a homogeneous group with any real spiritual or doctrinal meaning. The pro-Trump preference among “Catholics” is impossible to interpret without digging into it further.

    The suggestion that the preference for Trump among “Catholics” is due to a preference for having a man at the top is silly.

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