Understanding White Evangelicals

By Sean McElwee (@SeanMcElwee)

Yesterday, journalist Ryan Grim tweeted a thread on white evangelicals. Long-time DFP readers will know this is a question of importance to me, and I recently made the argument that white evangelicals have a strong claim to being Trump’s “base.” Grim makes the case that we should break out college/non-college voters by evangelical status and performs a calculation on the generic ballot. Looking back at 2016, this exercise is instructive. Trump overwhelmingly wins the two-party vote among college and non-college evangelicals. Among non-evangelical whites, however, he only narrowly wins non-college and gets crushed among college.


This is 2016 data, so we’ll update very soon with 2018 data, but this dynamic is very key to watch. If Democrats improve their margins with non-evangelical whites, both non-college and college, they’ll make huge improvements towards improving their margins in the House. My bet would be that evangelicals mostly stick with Trump and Democrats improve with non-evangelical whites, with and without college degrees.

Sean McElwee (@SeanMcElwee) is a co-founder of Data for Progress.

Sean McElwee