Similar to past elections, religion played an important role in the 2020 U.S. presidential contest: Republican candidate Donald Trump continued to garner strong support from White evangelical Protestants, while Black Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated backed the Democratic candidate and eventual winner, President Joe Biden.
But religious identity alone does not tell the whole story. Among White Americans, worship service attendance remains highly correlated with presidential vote choice, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of 2020 validated voters.
As in previous years, voters who frequently go to religious services – defined as those who attend at least monthly – were more likely to vote for the Republican candidate in the most recent presidential election, while less frequent attenders were more likely to back the Democrat.
Overall, 59% of voters who frequently attend religious services cast their ballot for Trump, while 40% chose Biden. Among those who attend services a few times a year or less, the pattern was almost exactly reversed: 58% picked Biden, while 40% voted for Trump.
About six-in-ten White Catholics who attend Mass monthly or more often (63%) supported Trump in the 2020 election, while 36% supported Biden.
However, these patterns vary by race. Frequent religious service attenders’ preference for Trump was apparent among White voters but largely absent among Black voters. (Due to limitations in sample size, results among Hispanic and Asian Americans could not be analyzed separately.)
About seven-in-ten White, non-Hispanic Americans who attend religious services at least monthly (71%) voted for Trump, while roughly a quarter (27%) voted for Biden. Among White Americans who attend religious services a few times a year or less, far fewer voted for Trump (46%), while around half (52%) voted for Biden.
Among Black, non-Hispanic adults in the U.S., by comparison, there is no such link between attendance and vote choice. Nine-in-ten Black Americans who attend religious services monthly or more voted for Biden in 2020, as did a similar share of Black voters who attend services less often (94%). Just 10% of Black frequent attenders and 5% of Black infrequent attenders voted for Trump.
And there’s this:
About six-in-ten White Catholics who attend Mass monthly or more often (63%) supported Trump in the 2020 election, while 36% supported Biden. Less frequent Mass attenders expressed less support for Trump (53%) and more support for Biden (47%)…
… Biden, meanwhile, gained some ground among White Catholics, garnering 42% of that vote, or 11 points more than Clinton did in 2016.