1.9.19 Trump Addresses Nation on Border Wall

Trump Addresses Nation on Border Wall

Last night, President Trump gave an address to the nation on the topic of the border wall. Negotiations over the wall have been a frequent source of political conflict and most recently resulted in the ongoing partial government shutdown. PRRI’s 2018 American Values Survey shows that 58 percent of Americans oppose building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, while 41 percent favor the policy. White Americans without a college degree are more likely to favor the wall than white Americans with a college degree. When it comes to religious groups, 67 percent of white evangelical Protestants – the demographic that is typically most loyal to President Trump – support the wall. The most opposition for the wall comes from the religiously unaffiliated (74 percent), Hispanic Catholics (73 percent), black Protestants (70 percent), and Hispanic Protestants (66 percent). 
FiveThirtyEight: “What Would It Take For Trump to Get Primaried?” 

This is the question that Perry Bacon Jr. asks in a new piece at FiveThirtyEight. Bacon does not think there’s a strong threat of a primary challenger at the moment, but there are multiple scenarios in which a worthy 2019 Republican challenger could plausibly step up within the year. Before getting to that, Bacon examines Trump’s popularity among his GOP base and finds that among “strong Republicans,” Trump remains very popular. However, according to polling from a number of places, there appears to be a bloc of Trump detractors, especially among people under the age of 30, who were once Republican but are now self-identifying as political independents. Citing PRRI research, Bacon writes, “ PRRI asked a sample of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who they wanted to be the GOP nominee in 2020. Sixty-six percent said Trump, while 33 percent said another person. The fact that a third of the people who lean or identity as Republicans want someone other than Trump on the ballot in 2020 is significant, as it amounts to a considerable chunk of the party.” A successful challenger would have to do well among these groups. 
Why Aren’t Republicans and Democrats Talking to Each Other?

Ronald Brownstein attempts to answer that question in a recent article for CNN. Brownstein notes that in the new 116th Congress, the two parties control districts that are very different with respect to key demographics like race, ethnicity, and educational background. Using census data, Brownstein reports, “In the new House, just over three-fifths of the Democrats represent districts where the minority share of the population exceeds the national average of 38 percent. Almost exactly 85 percent of House Republicans represent districts that are more white than the national average of 62 percent. Almost three-fifths of the Democrats represent districts where the share of adults holding at least four-year college degrees exceeds the national average of 30.3 percent. Over three-fourths of the House Republicans represent districts with fewer college graduates than average.” According to PRRI research, overwhelming majorities of Democrats (90 percent) and Republicans (87 percent) have an unfavorable opinion of the opposing party, including majorities who have a very unfavorable view (53 percent vs. 58 percent, respectively).
Why Evangelical Christians Support Trump’s Wall

PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones appeared on WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show to talk about the government shutdown and Trump’s demand for a southern bnorder wall. Jones talks specifically about white evangelicals, their support for Trump, and their connection to the issue of the wall and immigration more broadly. Jones also argues that evangelical support for the border wall has increased since the president campaigned on the issue during his campaign. 
How to Define Evangelicals

A new piece from Michael Gryboski at The Christian Post looks at the best way to define “evangelicals.” Gryboski focuses on a new paper from Kristin Kobes Du Mez, an associate professor of history and gender studies at Calvin College, which addresses the question. “There are, in fact, many evangelicalisms, and each is imagined with a different center and different boundaries,” Du Mez explained at a recent presentation of her paper. She continued, “If we consider evangelicalism an imagined religious community, imagined as inherently limited, bounded with insiders and outsiders, we must pay careful attention to questions of power.” According to PRRI’s 2017 American Values Atlas, 15 percent of Americans identify as white evangelical Protestant. 
LGBTQ Wedding Expo Features LGBTQ-friendly Businesses

The 6th annual Jersey City LGBTQ Wedding Expo took place over the weekend. The event is an outgrowth of Rainbow Wedding Network, the first online wedding resource specifically designed to serve the needs of the LGBTQ community. Twenty years after its founding, Rainbow continues to thrive, hosting 30 wedding expos across the country each year. Reporting on the story, The Jersey Journal cites PRRI research on the issue of religious refusals for services surrounding same-sex weddings, writing: “According to a study by the Public Religion Research Institute released last year, 46 percent of Americans believe that the owners of wedding-based businesses, such as caterers, florists, and bakers, should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples if it violates their religious beliefs. That figure is down from 53 percent the year before.”