If American Pastors Voted Today—This Is Who They’d Elect As President

LifeWay Research conducted a survey to determine, “If the 2016 presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote?”

Protestant pastors who typically identify as Republican favor Ted Cruz. Protestant pastors who identify as Democrat favor Hillary Clinton. However, “Undecided” remains “the most popular choice of America’s pastors according to a new telephone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors,” according to LifeWay Research.

There is much talk about support for Donald Trump among evangelicals, but Ed Stetzer shared, “One of the most surprising findings of our survey was the poor showing of Donald Trump. When it comes to Mr. Trump, there seems to be a huge gap between the pulpit and the pew.”

“Simply put, it’s a bizarre election season,” added Stetzer.

LifeWay shared these findings from the survey:

  • Half (54 percent) of Protestant pastors indicate they are Republicans. One in four are independent (23 percent), while one in seven (14 percent) are Democrats.
  • Among pastors who are Republicans, Cruz (29 percent) is in the lead, followed by Ben Carson (10 percent), Marco Rubio (8 percent), and Trump (5 percent). Thirty-nine percent are undecided.
  • Among pastors who are Democrats, a third favor Clinton (38 percent), one in four (23 percent) favors Bernie Sanders, and 31 percent are undecided.
  • Among pastors who are independents, almost 3 of 5 (57%) are undecided. Leading among independents are Cruz and Rubio (8 percent each), Carson and Sanders (6 percent each), Clinton (5 percent), and Trump (4 percent).
  • Older pastors (those over 64) are more likely to be undecided (54 percent) than those 18 to 44 (44 percent). They are also more likely to favor Trump (8 percent). Cruz does well with pastors 45 to 54 (21 percent).
  • Cruz does better with white pastors (19 percent) than with those of other ethnicities (5 percent).  Clinton does the opposite: 5 percent of white pastors favor her, along with 18 percent of pastors of other ethnicities.
  • Evangelical pastors prefer Cruz (18 percent), Carson (8 percent), and Rubio (8 percent). Mainline pastors choose Cruz (13 percent), Clinton (10 percent), Sanders (8 percent), and Carson (7 percent).
  • Baptist pastors (43 percent) are less likely to be undecided than Lutheran (60 percent) and Pentecostal (61 percent) pastors.
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Esther Laurie
Esther Laurie is a staff writer at ChurchLeaders.com. Her background is in communication and church ministry. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. When she’s not working, she loves running, exploring new places and time with friends and family. It’s her goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations.