Evangelical voters, particularly white evangelical voters, showed up big time to vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday. The statistics reveal that 81 percent went for Trump, while only 16 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. It was the highest evangelical turnout since 2004 and it was a 3 percent increase from those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. This, despite the fact that Romney was a squeaky clean candidate and Trump, by comparison, had plenty of baggage to deal with, like the vulgar "Access Hollywood" tapes.
So, how did the Trump campaign overcome these controversies to engage the evangelical base so effectively? Fox News analysts pointed out how evangelical groups led a massive ground game effort with Mike Pence to reach hundreds of thousands of churches. Additionally, activists sent out daily PSAs to over 1,000 radio stations.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition, which embarked on its own impressive ground game, noted in a press release this week that this election showed some "astonishing margins" for Trump among evangelicals in certain states. In Florida, Trump won evangelicals 85 percent to 13 percent for Clinton. In Georgia, evangelicals voted 88 percent for Trump to 6 percent for Clinton. In Wisconsin, it was 71 percent for Trump to Clinton's 24 percent.
Some of these stats can also be thanks to Trump's own personal efforts to reach evangelicals. He hosted over 1,000 evangelical leaders in New York City over the summer at a meeting in Times Square, giving them the opportunity to voice their needs and concerns. He then gave a shoutout to the demographic in his Republican National Convention speech. He also established an evangelical advisory panel and has repeatedly pledged to overturn the Johnson Amendment, which would allow pastors and priests to speak freely about politics from the pulpit. The Christian group My Faith Votes took advantage of this Christian undercurrent by sending PSAs to over 110 million households.
Trump's policies resulted in endorsements from prominent evangelical Christians like Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., which was met with much criticism by students and faculty, and members of Billy Graham's family.
Trump also won the Catholic vote by a 7-point margin - the first time a Republican has captured the Catholic vote since 2004.
Among all voters who attend religious services, they chose Trump by a 56 percent to 40 percent margin.