Preliminary exit poll data suggests white evangelical Christians, who have long been among President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters, showed up strongly for Republican House candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.
Seventy-five percent of white respondents who identified as “born-again” or evangelical Christians voted for Republican House candidates, according to exit poll data presented by NBC.
The demographic’s support for the GOP appeared to be largely stable since the last midterm elections in 2014, when 78 percent of white evangelicals voted for Republican House candidates.
White evangelicals’ support for Republican candidates held firm even as an array of diverse Democratic candidates helped topple the GOP’s eight-year hold on the House of Representatives.
Overall, an estimated 56 percent of respondents of all races who identified as Protestant or as another non-Catholic branch of Christianity voted Republican. Catholics were more divided, with 50 percent voting Democratic and 49 percent voting Republican.
Seventy-nine percent of Jewish respondents voted Democratic. About 73 percent of respondents who identified as “something else” voted for Democrats, along with 70 percent of those who said they had no specific religious tradition.
It’s important to note that these statistics about white evangelicals’ support for the Republican party do not accurately measure the voting patterns of evangelicals of color, who tend to lean more progressive than their co-religionists on issues of social justice, race and immigration.
NBC and several other national news networks rely on exit polling conducted by Edison Research for data on how Americans voted. However, there have been long-standing concerns about the accuracy of these exit polls, especially after they suggested incorrectly early on election night in 2016 that Hillary Clinton would defeat Trump.
As a result of these concerns, The Associated Press teamed up with researchers at the University of Chicago to debut its own analysis of voting patterns this year. The results of that survey have not yet been released.