Almost All of Record Turnout of Committed Evangelicals Backed Trump: Survey

Almost All of Record Turnout of Committed Evangelicals Backed Trump: Survey
A voter fills in his ballot, in Lansing, Michigan, on Nov. 3, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Mark Tapscott

A national survey conducted a week after the Nov. 3 election found an unprecedented 99 percent turnout among strongly committed evangelical Christians, virtually all of whom voted for President Donald Trump.

“That nearly universal turnout level dwarfed the estimated national turnout level of 66 percent, which itself was above-average,” George Barna, who conducted the survey, said in a recent statement publicizing the results.

“But just as remarkable as their turnout was the solidarity of the segment’s vote: 97 percent of SAGE Cons [Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians] cast their ballot for President Trump,” said Barna, director of research for the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.

“To place that unity in context, the national exit polls show the highest levels of solidarity among other population segments to include Democrats (94 percent voted for Joe Biden), Republicans (94 percent voted for Donald Trump), black women (90 percent for Biden), liberals (89 percent for Biden), blacks (87 percent for Biden), and conservatives (85 percent for Trump).”

“However, none of those segments had a turnout level approaching that of SAGE Cons,” Barna said.

The survey interviewed 6,000 “Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians” (SAGEs), 2,000 semi-SAGES, and a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly selected adults Nov. 4–16 via an online questionnaire.

The intensity of support for Trump among SAGE voters may also help explain the intensity of public concern about allegations of widespread voting fraud in the presidential race.

“Since the close of the election, there has been widespread disappointment, if not outright anger, among SAGE Cons regarding the election outcome,” Barna said.

“Eight out of 10 (79 percent) felt that there were ‘numerous instances of abuse’ in the voting process, some of which have changed the outcomes.”

Only 1 percent of the SAGE voters Barna surveyed believe the election and vote-counting were conducted honestly.

Trump’s campaign, as well as several nonprofit advocacy groups, are pursuing hundreds of allegations of voter fraud and malpractice in six states—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan.

Barna said the results of the survey show that, while SAGE Cons represent only 9 percent of the adult population, their high turnout resulted in their making up more than 14 percent of the voting population.

That translates into raw numbers of approximately 23 million SAGE Con votes cast, with more than 22.3 million of those going to the president.

The survey also noted evidence that undermines the conventional political wisdom on why SAGE voters supported Trump with such solidarity.

“SAGE Cons, whose political choices are driven by their biblical perspectives and personal commitment to Jesus Christ, have been a target of criticism during the past four years,” Barna said.

“Critics argue that President Trump lacks the moral character that a public official or candidate should possess in order to receive the support of Christians. The survey revealed that SAGE Cons were not, as some have said, voting for a ‘Pastor-in-Chief’ but were instead responding to his track record in office.”

“While previous surveys during the election cycle found that SAGE Cons were displeased with the content of some of his social media messages and his name-calling of political opponents, the current CRC research noted that his performance on a range of issues reflected the political preferences of SAGE Cons,” Barna said.

“In fact, the most common reasons they gave for voting for the brash New Yorker were his track record as president (listed by 30 percent); his positions on social issues (listed by 28 percent); his positions on fiscal and economic issues (27 percent); his conservative political ideology (25 percent); and his leadership abilities (21 percent).”

While SAGE voters strongly supported Trump four years ago, they were very much voting against his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to Barna.

But Trump’s performance in the Oval Office changed many SAGE voters into enthusiastic backers of the president against former Vice President Joe Biden.

“SAGE Cons are known as realists, and, after four years of the Trump presidency, the views of SAGE Cons were radically altered,” he noted.

“In 2016, they transitioned from a majority starting out in the ‘Never Trump’ camp to populating the ranks of ‘Never Hillary’ voters. By 2020, they had transitioned from reluctant Trump supporters to perhaps his most enthusiastic segment of supporters.”

Both Clinton and Biden were afflicted with strong and often detailed allegations of corruption and scandal, but such concerns weren't prominent among concerns cited by SAGE voters in 2020.

“Nobody is going to confuse Donald Trump with Jesus Christ, but SAGE Cons believe that the Trump portfolio of policy positions much better reflects the biblical worldview that SAGE Cons seek to implement in all walks of life than do those of Mr. Biden,” Barna said.

Contact Mark Tapscott at [email protected]
Mark Tapscott is an award-winning investigative editor and reporter who covers Congress, national politics, and policy for The Epoch Times. Mark was admitted to the National Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Hall of Fame in 2006 and he was named Journalist of the Year by CPAC in 2008. He was a consulting editor on the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Other Than Honorable” in 2014.