A recent Barna study shows that although many of those who identify as evangelical support the presidential candidacy of Republican nominee Donald Trump, more than four out of ten evangelicals currently reject both Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The organization surveyed 1,023 adults, including 627 likely voters, to conduct its study. Those expressing support for Trump included evangelicals (55 percent for Trump as opposed to 2 percent for Clinton), those who claim to have a biblical worldview (57 percent to 30 percent), and those who believe in absolute moral truth (48 percent to 37 percent).
Those supporting Clinton included those who profess to be Christians but are not born again (48 percent for Clinton to 36 percent for Trump), those who identify with other faiths ( 37 percent to 30 percent), atheists and agnostics (61 percent to 18 percent), and Roman Catholics (45 percent to 35 percent).
But Barna found that while some have selected a side, others have stated that they don’t feel comfortable with voting for either candidate.
“Although Trump has a huge lead over Clinton among evangelicals, the most noteworthy finding in this regard is that more than four out of ten evangelicals currently refuse to vote for either of those two candidates,” analyst George Barna said in an Oct. 10 post, outlining the results.
“Nearly three out of ten are presently undecided, making them the largest block of undecided votes still up for grabs,” he stated, and “[o]ne out of eight evangelicals plan to protest the quality of the major party candidates by voting for a third-party or independent candidate.”
“This behavior by evangelicals is unique over the course of the last nine election cycles,” he said, advising that if the election were held now, the evangelical vote for the Republican candidate would be 20 percentage points less than what it has been the last five elections.
Although not a part of the Barna study, among those rejecting both candidates includes John Piper, chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He Tweeted last week following the release of the 2005 Trump sexual assault boasting tape that “Trump should step down,” but “[s]o should Hillary.”
“That is what ‘unqualified’ means. It’s never been a question,” he said.
Wayne Grudem, professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, withdrew his endorsement of Trump following the release of the video and after reviewing sexually-charged remarks made on the Howard Stern Show. He noted that he couldn’t vote for Clinton either and wasn’t sure what to do.
“I am not now sure who I am going to vote for. I absolutely will not vote for Clinton,” Grudem said.
Erick Erickson of The Resurgent also opined earlier this year that Christians shouldn’t feel obligated to choose between Clinton and Trump, and advised that he will not do so personally.
“I have come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are just two forms of evil. Just because Donald Trump’s evil has an elephant mascot does not make his evil more acceptable than Hillary Clinton’s,” he said. “I take Charles Spurgeon’s view that between two evils, I should choose neither.”
“Christians are under no obligation to pick the lesser of two evils or judge between the evils of two lessers,” Erickson wrote. “We can withhold our endorsement by withholding our vote. We have the right to participate in the process, but just because we have the right does not mean we have to exercise that right.”
Guest poster Brian Mattson, senior scholar of public theology for the Center for Cultural Leadership, echoed Erickson’s remarks on Monday.
“I believe the promotion and support of Donald Trump by Christian leaders is just as damaging to Christian public witness as the prospect of a Clinton presidency,” he wrote. “Under Clinton, we may eventually be muzzled. Under Trump, we might be free to broadcast from the rooftops, but everyone will ignore us [for compromising on morality]. Rightly ignore us.”
“I believe the Christian reaction to this election should be sackcloth and ashes. Revulsion and repentance,” Mattson said. “I have made my decision, and all I can do is commend it to you: I refuse to lend my name to either candidate.”