Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trying to appeal to religious voters as Election Day approaches. Those efforts were on display during the recent Democratic and Republican conventions. Speakers, including the candidates themselves, talked about faith and the role it plays in the lives of Americans.
Religious voters are a key part of the U.S. electorate. Their beliefs can influence whom they back in the voting booth and the issues they prioritize, such as abortion and immigration.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on this diverse group, although research shows certain religious traditions tend to align with one political party over the other. But the question remains: How many religious voters, especially in swing states, are still in play in the 2020 presidential election?
This edition of ReligionLink features experts who may be able to help you report on how religious voters could impact the upcoming general election.
- Read “At Republican convention, a vision of faith under fire” from Religion News Service on Aug. 29, 2020.
- Read “Targeting Biden on faith, Republicans move to salvage religious voters for Trump” from the McClatchy Washington Bureau on Aug. 26, 2020.
- Read “As Republicans kick off convention, will Trump be able to keep conservative Christian votes?” from Religion News Service on Aug. 24, 2020.
- Read “Can the Religious Left Flip the Bible Belt?” from The Atlantic on Aug. 23, 2020.
- Read “Joe Biden campaigns on faith” from Christianity Today on Aug. 17, 2020.
- Read “‘Christianity will have power’” from The New York Times on Aug. 9, 2020.
- Read “How Trump is moving heaven and earth to motivate evangelical voters” from The Christian Science Monitor on Aug. 5, 2020.
- Read “Could These Evangelical Democrats Change the Party?” from Politico on Aug. 3, 2020.
- Read “Analysis: Do religious voters like Trump or Biden best?” from Deseret News on July 29, 2020.
- Read “Should Trump worry about white Catholic and mainline Protestant votes?” from Religion News Service on March 7, 2019.
- Read “Why Democrats Struggle To Mobilize A ‘Religious Left’” from FiveThirtyEight on May 29, 2019.
- Read “Why this shrinking religious group might be among America’s last ‘swing voters’” from Vox on Nov. 5, 2018.
Presidential candidate information
- Read more about President Donald Trump’s campaign and the coalitions that support him.
- Read more about former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign and the coalitions that support him.
2020 general election
- Read “White evangelical approval of Trump slips, but eight-in-ten say they would vote for him” from Pew Research Center on July 1, 2020.
- Read “National Survey Of Likely Jewish Voters In 2020” from Jewish Electorate Institute on Feb. 28, 2020.
- Read “Fractured Nation: Widening Partisan Polarization and Key Issues in 2020 Presidential Elections” from Public Religion Research Institute on Oct. 20, 2019.
2018 midterm election
- Read “How religious groups voted in the midterm elections” from Pew Research Center on Nov. 7, 2018.
- Read “Partisanship Trumps Gender: Sexual Harassment, Woman Candidates, Access to Contraception, and Key Issues in 2018 Midterms” from Public Religion Research Institute on Oct. 3, 2018.
2016 general election
- Read “How the faithful voted: A preliminary 2016 analysis” from Pew Research Center on Nov. 9, 2016.
Ryan Burge studies the intersection of religious beliefs and political behavior and is an expert on survey methodology. He teaches political science at Eastern Illinois University.
David Campbell is a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame who has written widely on religion and politics. His books include, as editor, A Matter of Faith: Religion in the 2004 Presidential Election and, as co-author, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.
Elesha J. Coffman
Elesha J. Coffman is an associate professor of history at Baylor University. She wrote The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline.
John Fea is an American history professor at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Fea writes often about the role of religious leaders in the Trump administration and is the author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.
Andra Gillespie is an associate professor of political science at Emory University. Her research covers African American politics.
R. Marie Griffith
R. Marie Griffith is director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She has written on women in charismatic and Pentecostal movements.
James Hudnut-Beumler is a professor of American religious history at the divinity school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He co-edited the book The Future of Mainline Protestantism. He directed the Material History of American Religion Project, which focused on material objects and economic themes. He is an expert on the church, ethics, philanthropy and general money issues.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a contributor to Fox News. He serves as one of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisers.
Robert P. Jones
Robert P. Jones is CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI.
Satjeet Kaur is the executive director of the Sikh Coalition. The nonprofit has launched get-out-the-vote efforts. Coronavirus-related restrictions on group gatherings will affect how Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi, an annual religious festival.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez
Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a history and gender studies professor at Calvin University. She wrote Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.
Steven Krueger is the president of Catholic Democrats.
Rachel Laser is the president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an advocacy organization that seeks to reduce entanglement between the government and faith groups. She previously served as deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where she worked on social justice issues, including gun control, abortion rights and reproductive rights. Arrange an interview through Liz Hayes.
David C. Leege
David C. Leege is a professor emeritus of political science at Notre Dame University. His areas of study include American voting behavior and religion; he has written about Catholics and politics.
Dalia Mogahed is director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, which specializes in the study of American Muslims. She previously served as executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.
Robb Ryerse is the political organizer for Vote Common Good, an organization trying to mobilize religious people to vote in order to stop President Donald Trump’s reelection.
Arlene Sánchez-Walsh is a religious studies professor at Azusa Pacific University in Azuza, California. She is an authority on Latino evangelicals, and her current research is on the rise of nonbelief among Latinos and Latinas. Her books include Latino Pentecostal Identity: Evangelical Faith, Self and Society.
Philip Schwadel is a sociology professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He studies religion and politics and recently wrote about the politics of the religious nones.
Jason Shelton is an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington. His research interests include religious affiliations and politics in the Black church.
Gregory A. Smith
Gregory A. Smith is the associate director of research at the Pew Research Center. He’s an expert on religion in America. Arrange interviews through Anna Schiller.