White evangelical Protestants are the only religious group in America among whom a majority believe Donald Trump is a “true patriot” who bears little responsibility for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and was denied rightful re-election by fraudulent results.
White evangelical Christians stand apart from the majority view in America in their support for the former president and their insistence that “leftist” groups were behind the Jan. 6 riots — despite no credible evidence that such was the case.
New national research by Public Religion Research Institute found 68% of white evangelical Christians believe Trump is a “true patriot” and 61% believe the election was “stolen” from him.
White evangelical Christians stand apart from the majority view in America in their support for the former president and their insistence that “leftist” groups were behind the Jan. 6 riots.
That likely explains why only a fourth of white evangelicals (26%) place a lot of blame for the Jan. 6 attack on Trump or Republican leaders (16%) or white Christian conservative groups (8%). PRRI found a high level or correlation between believing Trump is a “true patriot” and believing he bears little or no responsibility for inciting the Capitol insurrection.
Nationwide, among all who view Trump as a “true patriot,” only 10% blame him for the attack on the Capitol, compared to 83% of those who disagree that Trump is a “true patriot.”
These views of white evangelicals most closely mirror those of Republicans but diverge significantly from the view of most Americans and of other religious groups. There is no other religious group in America where a majority believes Trump is a “true patriot” or that the election was stolen from him.
The only other religious groups among whom more than four in 10 believe Trump is a “true patriot” are white mainline Protestants (45%) and white Catholics (45%), PRRI reported, explaining that “strong majorities of all other religious groups reject this idea.”
Since Trump and right-wing groups are not responsible for the Capitol insurrection in the eyes of white evangelicals, the culprits are to be found on the left, the research found. Once again, white evangelical Protestants are the only religious group among whom a majority (57%) blame the riots on liberals or left-wing activists.
White evangelical Protestants are the only religious group among whom a majority (57%) blame the riots on liberals or left-wing activists.
In contrast, when looking at a national perspective including Republicans, Democrats and independents, majorities of Americans believe white supremacist groups (59%), Trump (56%), and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (55%) bear most responsibility for the events of Jan. 6. PRRI reports that these views have not changed since polling in January, compared to the latest polling in August.
Like white evangelicals — who now make up the base of the modern Republican Party — Republicans as a group view the Capitol riots differently than most Americans. Republicans are about half as likely as the national population to believe white supremacist groups, conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation or Trump are responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Instead, a majority (61%) of Republicans blame liberal or left-wing activists. PRRI reported: “Liberal activists are the only group a majority of Republicans say bear a lot of responsibility for this event.”
The views of Republicans and of white evangelicals differ dramatically from the views of Democrats and independents, where majorities place blame for the Capitol riots on Trump, white supremacist groups and conservative media outlets.
The PRRI survey, which was conducted between Aug. 9 and 30, explored other aspects of beliefs related to the 2020 presidential election and the Capitol riots, including the influence of various media sources and correlations with believing the QAnon conspiracy theories.
Researchers explained in their report that the gap found on all questions between Republicans and Democrats “is best described as a canyon.”
For example, “there is a 74-percentage-point difference in placing a lot of blame for violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 on Donald Trump between Democrats (89%) and Republicans (15%). Similarly, the difference in thinking Trump is a ‘true patriot’ is 72 percentage points between partisans (79% Republicans, 7% Democrats), and an astonishing 71% of Republicans think the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, compared to only 5% of Democrats.”
In sum: “There seems to be little chance for cross-party agreement on issues involving Trump and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.”
The Trump Card: How white evangelicals are being played | Opinion by Joel Bowman Sr.