Study Shows Increasing Political Divide Between Younger and Older White Evangelicals | Sojourners

Study Shows Increasing Political Divide Between Younger and Older White Evangelicals

Younger white evangelicals are not as easily swayed by Trump’s politics, according to a new study by the Voter Study Group. The study showed that only six in 10 younger (age 18-44) white evangelical Christians see Trump as favorable.

The study reveals a generational divide between young white evangelicals and older evangelicals­­­ in their perceptions and opinions of Trump. 55 percent of older white evangelical Christians reported having a “very favorable” opinion of Trump while younger white evangelical Christians reported only at 25 percent in the same category. Additionally, 70 percent of young adults (age 18-24) disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, according to the 2019 Harvard Institute of Politics Survey.

Immigration issues are the biggest dividing factor between young white evangelicals and older evangelicals. While older white evangelicals buy into Trumps message, younger ones reject it, citing racial, ethnic, and religious diversity as a normal part of their everyday life rather than a reason to panic.

According to the website FiveThirtyEight, more than half (54 percent) of older white evangelical Christians see immigrants as a burden on American society. But 66 percent of young white evangelical Christians (age 18-34) say that the U.S. is strengthened by immigrants. Only 32 percent of older white evangelical seniors (age 65+) agree.

Other issues such as mixed faith relationships, gender expression and sexuality, and racial diversity widen the generational gap between young white evangelicals and their older counterparts. Older white evangelicals feel that younger adults are being too influenced by the world and are losing sight of their religious foundations, while younger adults experience conflict navigating the commitment to their faith while simultaneously being involved in a secular culture.

According to the article on FiveThirtyEight, during the 2016 election, younger white evangelicals did not resonate with the “Make America Great Again” slogan, as they did not feel a loss of American culture, having not grown up in the era of the Christian consensus — the indistinguishable line between Christianity and being a “Good American.” For older white evangelicals, however, Trump’s defense of conservative Christians and defending American culture are compelling reasons for their continued support. In the 2016 election, 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump. In the upcoming 2020 election, they are projected to strongly back his reelection bid, continuing a decades old pattern of doing so. Young adult voters are projected to flock to the Democratic nominee, as they have since 2004. However, the study did say that Trump is still likely to resonate with young white evangelical voters even if he is not their preferred candidate.

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