World News – GB – Jana Riess: Sen Mike Lee is just one example Latter-day Saints still love Donald Trump


On Wednesday Sen Mike Lee, a Latter-day Saint from Utah, outraged many when he compared President Donald Trump to a righteous military hero of the Book of Mormon

« To my Mormon friends, Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni, » Lee told gatherers in Arizona He also said the president « doesn’t seek praise from the world » and only wants « the welfare and peace of the American people »

Lee’s comments were problematic for anyone who had read the Book of Mormon account of Captain Moroni’s selflessness and endured four years of Trump-obsessed tweets

But Lee’s admiration for this president still compares to that of Latter-day Saints in the United States – about two-thirds of whom still approve of the president despite his mismanagement of the coronavirus, youthful harassment and chaotic approach government

Ryan Burge, assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, wrote earlier this week for Religion in Public on Latter-day Saints and Trump, asking how the Latter-day Saints vote would change in 2020 through report to previous elections He expects Trump to outperform his 2016 share of the nationwide LDS vote, which was only 55%, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, because this time there is no Evan McMullin offering a third-party alternative that true conservatives may feel good about supporting

« In 2016, almost a fifth of all LDS voters voted for a third, » Burge said in an interview with RNS this week In 2020, on the other hand, third-party options are much more subdued, so Burge expects Trump to improve on his 2016 performance and be in the 60% middle range, and Democratic candidate Joe Biden to outperform the share of ‘Hillary Clinton by around 10 points, placing it in the mid-1930s

But this big picture of Latter-day Saint voting doesn’t tell the whole story, as age and gender play a big role

Let’s start with women Recent studies have shown a political divide between Mormon men and women – Pew found in 2019 that only 42% of Mormon women approved of Trump, compared to 63% of men, and a 2020 Utah study Policy also revealed a gap of 16 percentage points

Burge analyzed nearly a year of data from July 2019 to June 2020 from Nationscape, which polls over 6,000 respondents per week for a total sample of 306,357 Latter-day Saints are only 12% of this total, given their small number in the general population, but that’s still 3,763 people, enough that the data can be significantly divided by sex and age

Men are fairly stable in their support for Trump, averaging 66% over the 12 months, while the number of women is generally lower, averaging 54%, and has fluctuated more widely

What is particularly interesting about this is that Latter-day Saint women seem to be ideologically a little more conservative than their male counterparts, with 49% of women describing themselves as « conservative » or « very conservative » compared to 47%. % of men Thus, their relative disapproval of the president shows that he does not fully connect with some female voters who would normally be on board with a conservative president

While the Latter-day Saint’s relative dislike of Trump is interesting compared to their enthusiasm for former GOP presidents and candidates, Burge said their disaffection likely wouldn’t make a real difference in the election

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« There might be a bit of erosion in [Latter-day Saint] women, but it won’t matter. In Arizona, it might matter, » he said. he said, « but Arizona is already a plus for Biden right now I don’t see that important nationally »

The Far Future May Be Another Story When Nationscape’s sample is broken down by age, younger Latter-day Saints describe themselves as less conservative and less linked to the GOP than older ones Among those 65 and over, for example, 58% say they are conservative or very conservative, compared to only 37% of those aged 18 to 35.This is a generational difference of more than 20 points

There is a similar story with party affiliation While 61% of the oldest respondents identified themselves as Republicans (not counting the skinny ones), only 425% of the youngest group

It’s not that Latter-day Saint young adults adopt a strong Democratic identity – only 13% have, almost identical to the 14% of the older generation On the contrary, more inhabit the spaces of the center , identifying themselves as skinny and independent

Overall, Burge believes a majority of Latter-day Saints will vote for Trump this year, despite the reluctance of some women and youth (and a minority of men, obviously including Sen Mitt Romney of Utah and former Sen Jeff Flake of Arizona)

“They’re going to be a solid red bloc, but not as much as the white evangelicals,” said Burge “That’s who they’re often compared to The reality is they’re kind of a more principled version white evangelicals, which means not all of them opted for Trump in 2016 A large number of them voted to protest « 

Burge analyzed the data before comparing Latter-day Saint voters to white evangelicals While the two groups are very similar on gun control, Latter-day Saints are less likely than white evangelicals to want make abortion completely illegal and considerably less likely to support Trump’s immigration policies

Many Latter-day Saint voters, he said, are They don’t want to be Democrats, but neither can they adhere to all of Trump’s policies « 

Editor’s Note • The opinions expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service

Donald Trump, Mike Lee, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Book of Mormon, Captain Moroni, Republican Party, Utah

News from around the world – UK – Jana Riess: Sen Mike Lee is just one example Latter-day Saints still love Donald Trump



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