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Published on October 31, 2020 10:21 AM

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Trump is losing support of his Catholic followers
In the 2016 presidential race, "Catholic Americans helped seal Donald Trump's come-from-behind victory with a flood of support in the industrial Midwest," POLITICO said on Friday.

The article pointed out, however, that recent "polls have shown Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a steady lead among Catholic voters."

This was one of the big surprises of the 2016 election: 4 in 10 American women voted for candidate Donald Trump. And more than half of white female voters supported the Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton.

But four years later, will the US president be able to count on this key electorate again? Not necessarily. According to a study by Pew Research Center, 39% of women still support Donald Trump.

Its Democratic competitor Joe Biden is widening the gap among women living in peri-urban areas and in the category of Hispanic and African-American women. Donald Trump's handling of the Covid crisis and the issue of racism in the United States may explain this disavowal.

Fifty-three per cent of white women voted for him in 2016; white women in battleground states like Pennsylvania helped usher him to victory, now they could lose him the election. Biden is currently beating Trump by 6.7 points in Pennsylvania, largely because the president has lost the support of white women. (It should be noted that while there are plenty of non-white women in the suburbs, Suburban Women tends to be code for white women – Trump certainly uses it that way.)

It's a concern that is particularly salient among Catholic voters in Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes region, where a cultural kinship with Biden, a practicing Catholic himself, has put the president at a disadvantage. And it's a conundrum some of Trump's allies begrudgingly admit could sink his shot at a second term.

As well, in both Arizona and North Carolina, the Senate Republican incumbent is trailing Mr. Trump in the polls, meaning they would need the president to win by a handful of points in order to get any boost from his coattails, according to a Republican working on Senate races.

Democrats are widely expected to lose a seat in Alabama but pick one up in Colorado. They are favored to capture GOP-held seats in Arizona and to a smaller extent in Maine. Iowa and North Carolina are toss-ups. Further out of reach for Democrats are GOP strongholds like South Carolina, Montana, Kansas and Texas, which had appeared in polls to be slipping away from Republicans, but now party officials feel they have pulled them back. Two Republican-held seats in Georgia could go to runoffs if no candidate gets 50% of the vote next week.

November 2016: Winning 80-81% of white evangelicals Arguably the biggest religion story of Trump's presidency is how he got there in the first place: by winning 80-81% of white evangelicals who turned out on Election Day 2016. His ability to curry favor with white evangelicals baffled pundits and political analysts, many of whom expressed confusion that so-called "values voters" would back a candidate who stumbled over Bible verses, frequently used crude language and was caught bragging about sexual assault. This despite vehement opposition from some evangelical leaders such as Russell Moore, the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Yet Trump's appeal with the group would become a mainstay of his first term in office, with the president sometimes openly acknowledging that some of his policy positions were designed to please evangelical Christians.

January 2017: Travel ban triggers religious uproar [Don't miss the latest news from the church and the world. Sign up for our daily newsletter.]

Within a week of his inauguration, Trump signed an executive order entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States" that barred refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries from entry into the U.S. His administration would insist that it was not narrowly targeted at Muslims, but the move was widely seen as Trump making good on his 2015 promise to institute a "Muslim ban," calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

The ban sparked widespread outcry, with opponents filing lawsuits and flocking to airports to voice fierce disapproval. Among the throngs were religious protesters holding signs emblazoned with Scripture, with dozens of denominations, religious organizations and individual faith leaders decrying the move as discriminatory and a violation of religious freedom.

February 2017: Trump 'finally' condemns anti-Semitism After initially refusing to denounce explicitly discrimination against Jews on two separate occasions in the opening weeks of his presidency, Trump finally condemned anti-Semitism amid a series of bomb threats made against Jewish organizations. During a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., he declared, "The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."