Pew poll: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton seen as least religious candidates

1 year ago
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Donald Trump is seen as the least religious candidate of the leaders in the presidential races in both parties, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

The real estate mogul is seen as “not too” or “not at all” religious by 60% of voters and “very” or “somewhat” religious by 30%. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, is second, with 43% seeing her as not religious.

Republican Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, is viewed by 68% of those surveyed as religious, the most of any candidate, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz next at 65%.

Some 52% of white evangelicals say they think Trump would be a good president. In a separate question, however, two-thirds of Republicans said it’s important to have a president that shares their religious beliefs.

Both Trump and Clinton are leading their parties in national polls.

Fifty-one percent of people surveyed, meanwhile, said they would be “less likely” to vote for a hypothetical candidate if that candidate were atheist. A Muslim candidate would likely lose the support of 42% of people and an evangelical Christian would lose the support of 20% of people.

Attitudes appear to be softening somewhat on the importance of religion, however. Pew’s February 2007 survey found that 63% said they would be “less likely” to vote for an atheist candidate. The percentage of people who said that tag would not matter increased from 32% in that survey to 41% in the latest survey.

Pew published the results in their report “Faith and the 2016 Campaign,” based on a polling of 2,009 people between January 7 and January 14.

It comes one day after Trump released his latest big-name endorsement, from Jerry Falwell Jr., an evangelical leader who heads Liberty University and son of the iconic religious conservative leader Jerry Falwell.

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The endorsement was chided by religious leaders supporting Cruz, but Falwell called Trump “a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.”

“I’m a Christian. I’m a good Christian,” Trump himself said at a news conference on Tuesday night.

Clinton, for her part, has spoken in the past about her Methodist faith, including on Monday night.

“I am a person of faith. I am Christian. I am a Methodist,” Clinton said at an event in Iowa.

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