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Trump, Biden split Catholic vote

Elana Schor
Associated Press

Washington — President Donald Trump won support from about 8 in 10 white evangelical Christian voters in his race for reelection, but Catholic voters split almost evenly between him and Democratic opponent Joe Biden, according to AP VoteCast.

Trump’s strong hold on white evangelical voters illustrates the GOP’s enduring success with a bloc of religious conservatives who have been a linchpin of the president’s political base since his 2016 victory. The president’s path to a second term has grown narrower, however, amid a divide among Catholics between Trump and Biden, a lifelong member of the faith.

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 file photo, faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church in Miami.

AP VoteCast showed 50% of Catholics backing Trump and 49% favoring Biden, reflecting the faith’s longstanding role as a closely contested vote in presidential elections — particularly in Rust Belt battleground states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won both of those states by less than 1 percentage point in 2016, but Biden prevailed in both this year. The survey of more than 110,000 voters nationwide was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Catholic voters accounted for 22% of the electorate, and there was a sharp rift within their ranks by race and ethnicity.

Among white Catholics, 57% backed Trump and 42% backed Biden, according to VoteCast.

Among Hispanic Catholics, VoteCast shows 67% backed Biden and 32% backed Trump.Among voters with no religious affiliation, Biden took 72% while Trump took 26%. And VoteCast found several other religious voting blocs going overwhelmingly for Biden, largely in line with their previous preference for Democrats.

Jewish voters made up 3% of the electorate and went overwhelmingly for Biden, with 68% backing the Democrat compared with 31% backing Trump. Among Muslim voters, 64% supported Biden and 35% supported Trump. In a 2017 survey from Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of U.S. Muslims identified as Democratic or leaned to the Democratic Party.

Trump got the backing of 71% of Latter-day Saints nationwide, while 24% supported Biden.