WASHINGTON (RNS) — After greater than a yr of campaigning, the 2020 election is lastly upon us, pitting Democrat Joe Biden towards President Donald Trump.

It has been an unusually faith-focused marketing campaign season, with each candidates repeatedly interesting to faith and religious voters over the previous few months — albeit usually in very other ways.

But as the ultimate votes are counted tomorrow — and probably all through the week or longer — listed below are some religion-related trends to watch.

Black Protestant turnout

Black Protestants reliably skew towards the Democratic Party, and their votes have confirmed to make or break previous campaigns: In 2017, Black religious voters spurred to the polls by their church buildings have been credited with serving to Doug Jones’ unlikely win to change into the primary Democratic senator from Alabama since 1997, defeating the Trump-endorsed Roy Moore. Black religious voters additionally performed a key function in elevating Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination this yr, serving to hand him a decisive victory in South Carolina and throughout the South on Super Tuesday.

Although Black voter turnout dipped in 2016, this yr Black religious teams have ramped up efforts forward of Tuesday’s election to mobilize their congregations and to safeguard towards voter suppression geared toward African Americans. Democrats seem to be taking these initiatives severely: On Sunday, Biden spoke at a “Souls to the Polls” drive-in rally geared toward Black churchgoers in Philadelphia.

While Trump could have made small positive factors amongst Black males, Black Protestants nonetheless overwhelmingly again Biden, and excessive turnout amongst Black Protestants in swing states is probably going to be a warning signal for the president’s re-election prospects.

Muslim turnout in Michigan

American Muslims don’t represent an enormous share of the U.S. voters, however they’ve a large inhabitants within the swing state of Michigan, the place Trump simply barely gained in 2016.

Trump has made some positive factors with the group since 2016 — notably amongst white Muslims — with 14% reportedly keen to again the president this yr in contrast to simply 4% in 2020. But the ballot was performed throughout the early levels of the pandemic and earlier than the top of the Democratic major season. And even with these shifts, Muslim Americans nonetheless reported one of many lowest ranges of help for Trump amongst most main religious teams.

As such, a surge of Muslim voter mobilization in Dearborn and close by Detroit may bode properly for Biden this week.

Jewish turnout in Pennsylvania and Florida

At least one ballot launched in September confirmed Biden shedding floor barely with Jewish voters in contrast to 2016, however a ballot by AJC, a Jewish advocacy group, discovered Biden drawing 77% help amongst Jewish voters in contrast to Hillary Clinton’s 62% in 2016.

This is disappointing to the Trump camp, which hoped to capitalize on the president’s current diplomatic successes that gained Israel recognition from Arab states, a part of a concerted effort to win over a bunch that leans closely Democratic. With sizable Jewish communities in carefully fought states similar to Pennsylvania and Florida, even a small defection to the GOP may assist swing a state into the Trump column.

Shifts amongst white mainliners and Catholics within the Rust Belt

Trump’s coalition gained in all three main classes of white Christians in 2016 — white evangelicals, white Catholics and white mainline Protestants — and secured the biggest degree of help from white Catholics (60%) of any candidate in at the least 20 years.

But Trump’s favorability scores amongst white Catholics — which have sizable populations in Rust Belt swing states — has fluctuated all through his presidency. More current polls have pegged Trump’s help with the group beneath his 2016 numbers at round 52%, whereas Biden, a white Catholic who has repeatedly invoked his religion on the marketing campaign path, gained floor.

Trump’s help with white mainliners is tougher to assess, as completely different polling outfits use completely different classes. But Pew Research just lately reported that “white not-evangelical Protestants” have change into much less approving of Trump’s job efficiency over time, dropping from 60% in February 2017 to 53% in August 2020.

The shifts could appear small, however given Trump’s slender margins of victory in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016, a small shift may make an enormous distinction.

Small however essential shifts amongst Hispanic and Latino religious voters

Trump has stunned many analysts by growing his help amongst Hispanic and Latino voters, a development that extends to Hispanic Catholics: Fewer than 1 / 4 of Latino Catholics voted for Trump in 2016, however Pew reported in August that one-third could again him this yr. The shift seems to be at the least partly due to Trump’s strikes towards abortion rights, notably within the type of conservative judges appointed to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Trump has made a degree to attain out to a smaller however doubtlessly impactful group: Hispanic evangelicals. The rising group is extra cut up politically than Hispanics total and has a presence in swing states similar to Florida and Arizona. Trump launched his “Evangelicals for Trump” initiative earlier this yr in a principally Spanish-speaking Florida megachurch.

If Trump can maintain on to his positive factors with Hispanic Latino Catholics and encourage turnout amongst Hispanic evangelicals, it could be sufficient to push him excessive in key states.

Any motion amongst white evangelicals

White evangelicals’ adoration of the president — and his assiduous courting of their leaders — has preserved the gorgeous 80% help he counted on in 2016. Trump just lately informed Religion News Service that he has switched his religious affiliation from Presbyterian to non-denominational Christian — an identification claimed by many evangelicals.

The Biden-Harris marketing campaign has made efforts, nevertheless, to make a dent in Trump’s evangelical base, and some maverick evangelicals have damaged with their brethren to help the previous vp.

Trump wants white evangelicals to present up huge. If they don’t, it’s a dire warning signal for his marketing campaign.

Latter-day Saints in Arizona

This final development is tougher to parse, however Trump has lengthy struggled with Latter-day Saints, in any other case probably the most reliably Republican religious teams within the nation.

Most Latter-day Saints will help the president this yr as they did in 2016 (though he solely garnered 56%, a far cry from 80% of white evangelicals). But there are two bother spots for Trump: the sustained criticism of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who stays common with Latter-day Saints total, and the Latter-day Saints inhabitants within the swing state of Arizona, the place softening has been discovered, and even a small shift may hand Biden the state.

Jack Jenkins – religionnews.com

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