U.S. President Donald Trump, center, smiles as Representative Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, right, and Representative Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas, sit during a discussion on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. U.S., on Friday, March 10, 2017.
New poll: 54% say things are going well in US
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Eight in 10 white evangelicals who attend church at least once a month approve of Trump

Trump has delivered on many of the campaign promises that helped him attract white evangelicals to his campaign

CNN  — 

President Donald Trump’s widespread support among white evangelicals is holding steady as he approaches his 100th day in office, and their backing is nearly double his approval rating among the general public, a new Pew Research Center analysis finds.

The analysis is consistent with other recent surveys that have shown voters who backed Trump in November are still fervently behind him. But Pew’s data is notable because Trump is a relative newcomer to the evangelical community, a critical voting bloc that helped power his underdog victory.

The guilt-free gospel of Donald Trump

Eight in 10 white evangelicals who attend church at least once a month approve of how the President is leading the country, the analysis finds, a number consistent with the 77% that Pew found backed him in the months before Election Day. CNN exit polls found 80% of white evangelicals backed Trump during the general election.

Recent national polls have found Trump’s approval rating hovering around 40%.

Pew’s findings, released Wednesday, also found white evangelicals who attend church less regularly back Trump at 71%.

Although Trump, a self-described Presbyterian Protestant, is attracting headlines for approaching his 100th day in office without a cornerstone legislative achievement, he has delivered on many of the campaign promises that helped him attract white evangelicals to his campaign.

  • Trump pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Although new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has bucked the idea that he was nominated contingent upon a promise to overturn existing abortion law, his confirmation to the court cemented a conservative majority on the bench, something many evangelical voters were hoping for when they backed Trump.
  • Trump signed a bill in April allowing states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood, a group frequently targeted by Republicans.
  • And just days after entering the White House, Trump signed an executive action reinstating the so-called Mexico City policy, which bars international nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving US government funding.

Part of Trump’s appeal to white evangelicals was his stated campaign promise to “protect religious liberty.” Some House lawmakers, however, say he hasn’t gone far enough – a letter penned by more than 50 Republican members of Congress earlier this month urged him to take “prompt executive action” to allow churches a freer hand in political activism while retaining their tax-exempt status.

“Numerous times, you reiterated your support for restoring the free speech rights of charities and churches threatened by the unconstitutional nature of the Johnson Amendment,” the letter said, referring to a provision of tax law that bars religious organizations from endorsing political candidates. “The recent revelations of IRS targeting of conservative groups along with regularly issued demand letters sent to churches by outside entities, has created a chilling effect on pastors from merely mentioning political events.”

“Executive and legislative action is also needed to protect religious liberty in light of the Supreme Court’s recent redefinition of marriage” that legalized same sex marriage nationwide, it added.

The White House did not respond to CNN to comment on the letter.