Religion Unplugged

Lies, damned lies, statistics: For Biden, religious vote was crucial — maybe

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-In” features analysis, fact checking and top headlines from the world of faith. Got feedback or ideas for this column? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at

In the 2020 election, what happened with the religious vote that was seen as so crucial to President Donald Trump’s upset win four years ago?

Take your pick:

Not much changed, according to Religion News Service’s Yonat Shimron.

• A small decline in Trump support among White Catholics represented a slight but significant change, NPR’s Tom Gjelten proposed.

• President-elect Joe Biden “swung the religious vote” just enough to defeat Trump, Politico’s Gabby Orr reported.

• White evangelicals “stuck by” Trump and, despite Biden’s win, “still took heart in their strong presence at the polls and the GOP’s success in down-ballot races,” according to The Associated Press’ Elana Schor and David Crary.

• Biden closed the gap among White evangelicals to the tune of “well over four million votes nationally,” Biden supporter Michael Wear proclaimed in a New York Times op-ed.

Wait, what?

“I think there’s been a bit of, ‘I’m going to read whichever exit polls make my efforts seem fruitful,’ among a certain group of people in the post-election time period,” said Ryan Burge, an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. His research focuses on the intersection of religiosity and political behavior, especially in the U.S.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

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