Pew poll: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton seen as least religious candidates
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 1/27/2016, 10:05 a.m.
Donald Trump is seen as the least religious candidate of the leaders in the presidential races in both parties, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.
The real estate mogul is seen as "not too" or "not at all" religious by 60% of voters and "very" or "somewhat" religious by 30%. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, is second, with 43% seeing her as not religious.
Republican Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, is viewed by 68% of those surveyed as religious, the most of any candidate, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz next at 65%.
Some 52% of white evangelicals say they think Trump would be a good president. In a separate question, however, two-thirds of Republicans said it's important to have a president that shares their religious beliefs.
Both Trump and Clinton are leading their parties in national polls.
Fifty-one percent of people surveyed, meanwhile, said they would be "less likely" to vote for a hypothetical candidate if that candidate were atheist. A Muslim candidate would likely lose the support of 42% of people and an evangelical Christian would lose the support of 20% of people.
Attitudes appear to be softening somewhat on the importance of religion, however. Pew's February 2007 survey found that 63% said they would be "less likely" to vote for an atheist candidate. The percentage of people who said that tag would not matter increased from 32% in that survey to 41% in the latest survey.
Pew published the results in their report "Faith and the 2016 Campaign," based on a polling of 2,009 people between January 7 and January 14.
It comes one day after Trump released his latest big-name endorsement, from Jerry Falwell Jr., an evangelical leader who heads Liberty University and son of the iconic religious conservative leader Jerry Falwell.
The endorsement was chided by religious leaders supporting Cruz, but Falwell called Trump "a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again."
"I'm a Christian. I'm a good Christian," Trump himself said at a news conference on Tuesday night.
Clinton, for her part, has spoken in the past about her Methodist faith, including on Monday night.
"I am a person of faith. I am Christian. I am a Methodist," Clinton said at an event in Iowa.
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