Evangelicals have long been seen as a block of voters for one reason. It is hard to split a group of people who all derive their moral principles from the same source. Sure, there are differences in nuance and verbiage, but for the most part, Evangelicals find the source of right and wrong from the Bible.
So, it is unusual that there is such a division in SC ahead of the GOP primaries. Evangelicals are split three ways in the latest polls. And it is not as if these candidates are similar. What is the reasoning?
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Trump is leading among evangelical Christian voters with 31 percent in the latestFox News poll, but Sen. Ted Cruz is only eight points behind at 23 percent, with Marco Rubio at 17 percent and Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent, reflecting the divisions among evangelical voters.
An outside observer would think that Cruz would be the candidate for Evangelical Christians. His father is a preacher, and he looks the part. But things have been changing in the Evangelical community over the past decade.
There has been a move away from the traditional model of Evangelicalism. A move to what Fox describes as the “new age Pentecostal.” And there seems to be a clear line of division here in the community in SC.
But now there seems to be a schism among more traditionalist evangelicals like Leupp who is “stunned” that his peers are supporting a divorcee with “a foul mouth, a lack of morals,” and the more new age, Pentecostal Christians who see Trump as a man who has sinned but can be saved. The former, says Leupp and Page, are sending up their prayers for Cruz and Rubio.
The problem that the GOP faces is the fact that many in the traditional camp will likely never support Trump. This could mean a loss of many voters when it comes to the general election. It also could be a bad sign for the Evangelical community.