A majority of white Americans, particularly evangelicals who attend worship services regularly, voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020, while President Joe Biden was the overwhelming favorite among religiously unaffiliated voters, especially among those who identify as atheists and agnostics, a recent analysis of 2020 validated voters by the Pew Research Center shows.
According to the analysis by Pew Research assistant Justin Nortey, overall, 59% of voters who attend worship services at least monthly voted for Trump, while 40% voted for Biden. The less voters attended church services, however, the more likely their support was for Biden. Some 58% of white voters who attend worship services just a few times a year voted for Biden, while 40% of that crowd voted for Trump.
The trend remains consistent with voting patterns in previous years which showed a strong correlation between high religious service attendance and support for the Republican candidate among white voters and low religious service attendance and support for the Democratic candidate. This pattern varied in strength based on religious tradition.
Some 85% of white evangelical voters who frequently attend religious services and 81% of those who attend less frequently voted for Trump.
“White evangelical Protestants tend to be more religious than other Christians by a number of measures, including in their worship habits: Two-thirds of white evangelical voters attend monthly or more often, while one-third attend less frequently,” Nortey noted.
And while the correlation between religious service attendance and voting patterns among other white Christians is not as strong as it is among evangelical Protestants, the data still reflect a majority of those who frequently attend religious services voted for Trump.
“Among white non-evangelicals who attend services more frequently, the vote was almost evenly divided, with 51% favoring Trump and 48% favoring Biden. White Protestants who are not evangelical tend to attend church less frequently than their evangelical counterparts: Three-in-ten white non-evangelical Protestant validated voters say they go to church monthly or more, while nearly seven-in-ten go a few times a year or less,” Nortey wrote.
Some 63% of Catholics who attend mass at least monthly voted for Trump in 2020 while 36% voted for Biden. Among those that attended less frequently, however, the support for Trump was 53% while the support for Biden ticked up to 47%.
A similar correlation was not found among black voters who overwhelmingly supported Biden whether or not they frequently attended religious services. Some 90% of black Americans who frequently attend religious services voted for Biden in 2020 while 94% of black voters who attend church services less frequently voted for Trump.
According to the analysis, Biden made some gains in support among white Catholics, as he got 11% more support than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. His strongest support among Christians came from black Protestants. He also had a strong showing among the religiously unaffiliated.
“What Biden lacked in support from white Christians, he made up for with support from black Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated,” Nortey noted.
Biden received 71% of the votes of people who identified as religiously unaffiliated.
“Biden’s support was particularly strong among voters who identify as atheist or agnostic, with 86% of voters in this category backing him over Trump,” Nortey added.