Published Research Print

Survey | Trump Gains Ground with White Evangelical Voters; Solidifies Lead with Republican Voters Nationwide

[01.27.2016] Read the topline questionnaire, including the survey methodology, here.

Among Voters Nationwide, Trump Increases Lead While Democratic Race Tightens 

Heading down the homestretch to the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump has increased his advantage over his Republican primary opponents among self-reported Republican registered voters nationwide. One-third (33%) of Republican voters say they would prefer Trump to be the nominee, a ten percentage point increase over his level of support in November 2015, and more than double that of those expressing support for Ted Cruz (14%), Ben Carson (14%), and Marco Rubio (12%). The remaining GOP contenders demonstrate very little support among Republican voters, including Jeb Bush (5%), John Kasich (2%), Mike Huckabee (2%), Rand Paul (1%), Chris Christie (1%), and Carly Fiorina (1%).


The Democratic primary race has tightened considerably since November 2015, although Hillary Clinton retains a sizable advantage over her closest competitor, Bernie Sanders. A majority (53%) of Democratic voters say they would like to see Clinton as the Democratic nominee, down from 64% in November 2015. Sanders has witnessed a more modest increase in support over the same time period. One-third (33%) of Democratic voters say they would prefer that Sanders win the nomination, compared to 28% a few months earlier. Today, four percent of Democratic voters say they prefer some other candidate, and 11% of Democratic voters express no opinion.

White Evangelical Protestant Voters Warm to Trump

Since November 2015, white evangelical Protestant voters have become more amiable towards Trump. A majority (53%) of white evangelical Protestant voters express a favorable view of Trump today, up from 37% last November. Currently, only about four in ten (41%) white evangelical Protestant voters express a negative view of Trump, down from 56% in November.


White evangelical Protestant voters are also viewing Cruz and Rubio more positively, partly because these voters have come to know the two candidates better. A slim majority (51%) of white evangelical Protestant voters express a favorable view of Rubio, compared to 40% who did so last November. Cruz has benefitted from an even greater increase in positive views. Nearly six in ten (57%) white evangelical Protestant voters view Cruz favorably, while only 34% reported having favorable views of him in late 2015.




All three candidates enjoy the same level of favorability among GOP voters. More than six in ten Republican voters express a positive opinion of Cruz (65%), Rubio (62%), and Trump (62%). Notably, Cruz has become much more popular among Republican voters over the last few months, with fewer than half (47%) expressing a favorable view of him in November 2015.

Clinton’s Advantage Among Non-White Voters

Among non-white voters, an important Democratic constituency, Clinton is viewed more favorably than Sanders. Six in ten (60%) non-white voters express a positive view of Clinton, including 32% who have a very favorable view of her. Fewer than half (48%) of non-white voters regard Sanders favorably, and only 12% view him very favorably. 

Both Clinton and Sanders are well regarded among Democratic voters. Nearly eight in ten (78%) Democratic voters have a favorable view of Clinton while close to two-thirds (65%) express a positive opinion of Sanders.