With a Republican field chock full of aspirants with credible religious credentials, it’s fair to say that few thought evangelical attachment to Trump a likely scenario. By March, it was apparent that something unexpected was happening, but even then the storyline, backed by some data, was that it was the bad evangelicals (those less observant) who jumped to Trump. Trump, of course, steamrolled through the Republican nomination process and narrowly captured enough states in November for a “blowout,” “massive landslide.” For their part, white evangelicals were all in – fully 80% voted for Trump according to exit polls and analysis of the CCES on this blog indicated about 76% support (here).
My take away on this was that idea that evangelicals held their noses to vote for Mr. Trump was a myth. Looking at the demographics, the truth is that they were just as likely to vote for Mr. Trump as a non-evangelical.
It seems to me that the argument presented about evangelicals holding their noses is more about their knowledge that Mr. Trump represented a person of character for whom they would have never voted if he was not a Republican. It is rather a way to rationalize the reality that they truly do not care and that morality is only a cheap talking point for them.