Axios noted that Trump got 81% of the evangelical vote in 2016, and the evangelical community is close to 25% of the entire American electorate. A campaign advisor told Axios, “There is a significant evangelical outreach effort. It’s going to be state specific. It’s going to exist in important battleground states and focus on churches and areas where we can have an impact. African American outreach will be a component of that. … It’s robust, and it will be well-funded.”
A campaign official stated to Axios, “In 2016, it was more of a surrogate driven, PR-driven type thing. This is about finding voters. That’s why a lot of our efforts are going toward collecting data at rallies, collecting data over peer-to-peer texting, and collecting data within our coalition groups.”
An RNC official added that the RNC is querying members of Congress and leaders of church communities as to how to reach the huge evangelical community. Axios reported that the RNC will feature “signature Trump Victory Leadership Institute (TVLI) training” at faith-based events around the nation.
A Pew Research poll from mid-March found a whopping 69% of evangelical voters thought Trump was doing a good job as president.
In mid-June, Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said 2020 would see the “most ambitious and far-reaching voter mobilization effort” in the evangelical community’s history, as The Washington Times reported. He stated that plans called for the registration of 1 million evangelical voters, as volunteers knocked on 3 million doors and placed literature in over 117,000 churches in key states. He hoped around 30 million people would be contacted.
As governing.com reported in April, evangelicals have moved even more strongly toward President Trump since 2016:
Exit polls showed that 75 percent cast their ballots for Republican candidates. That number includes evangelicals of all ages, but surveys taken shortly before the election showed that 78 percent of white evangelicals ages 18 to 29 identified as Republican. “Did we see white evangelicals moving toward the middle of the political spectrum in 2018? “Clearly no,” says Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University (and a Baptist minister). “White evangelicals are more Republican now than they were two years ago.”
Burge, noting that the percentage of evangelicals in 45 states rose between 2000 and 2010, posited that the rise came from two sources: Latino evangelicals, whose numbers soared in Arizona, Florida, Maryland and Ohio, and the concomitant move by leftists congregating in big cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.
In May, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley commented on the closeness evangelicals felt for Trump, saying, “I think there’s a mutual respect. I think they have a good relationship because of the fact that he has delivered on the promises he made during the campaign.”
In addition, three powerful members of Trump’s administration are evangelicals: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.