Polling in Iowa indicates a very close, very tight race between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. The difference maker could be the influential evangelical Christian voting bloc in Iowa which both Republicans are currently trying to court.

Despite his limited talk of faith, many evangelicals are finding a home with Trump. Report from the New York Times:

Buford Arning, a retired building supply executive in Statesville, N.C., went to church each week until a pinched nerve made it hard for him to leave his house. He believes in living a faith-filled life. But he does not demand piety of his preferred presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump.

“Am I a Bible toter that gets out and preaches on the side of the street and tries to convert everybody? No,” said Mr. Arning, 62, who calls himself an evangelical voter. He said he believed that Mr. Trump was “a Christian man,” and that was good enough.

Mr. Trump may not be as spiritually minded as former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who was a Southern Baptist minister, “but I think his values are very much the same,” Mr. Arning said.

“His personal life is saintlike compared to Bill Clinton’s,” he added.

Brash, thrice-married, cosseted in a gilded tower high above Fifth Avenue and fond of swearing from the stage at his rallies, Mr. Trump, who has spent his career in pursuit, and praise, of wealth, would seem an odd fit for voters who place greater value on faith, hope and charity.

Yet polls increasingly show Mr. Trump well in front of the crowded Republican field among white evangelical voters.

Trump wouldn’t seem like the right fit for many devoted Christians. As mentioned in the piece, his multiple marriages and general temperament don’t jive fully with what is typically sought after by socially conservative voters. However, Trump is making it happen despite a heavy onslaught from Ted Cruz.

For his part, Cruz has been heavily pushing his faith as a reason, above many reasons, why he is fit to carry the conservative mantle. Report from the Dallas Morning News:

The Texas senator and son of a Carrollton pastor is sticking to religion, even in New Hampshire. The voting population there is heavy with libertarians and is not as influenced by evangelicals as the small towns in Iowa, where Cruz has had success in the polls.

“For too long there has been a spirit of fear and timidity in Washington,” Cruz told The Dallas Morning News on the second day of his New Hampshire tour. “We should not be ashamed of Christ. We should be willing to speak the truth with a smile.”

Cruz said the nation must return to its Judeo-Christian roots.

“Pulling this country back from the cliff we’re facing will require us remembering who we are, rediscovering those values that built America in the first place,” he said.

That has been Cruz’s mantra for months, and along the way he’s climbed in the polls for what’s fast becoming a two-way race with New York businessman Donald Trump.

On paper, Cruz should win this battle having gone so far as to announce his campaign at Liberty University last year, a haven for modern evangelical Christianity. Polling up to this point shows that he isn’t closing the deal. Despite his shortfalls, Trump has been able to talk his way into the hearts of many “values voters” despite his actions in the past not always matching his words.

I think this indicates a desire to win more than a desire to elect the “most” Christian candidate. Trump has made certain to praise Christian leaders and grants interviews to Christian media outlets. I don’t think many voters consider him devoutly religious, or even fairly religious. I think they consider him respectful of Christianity to the point where they’d feel comfortable with Trump at the helm if it means keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

The current rumor is that former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin will show up in Iowa today with Trump for an official endorsement. That could further change the race in Trump’s favor as well.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Nate:

    Here is something you missed why Trump will crush Cruz in Iowa — because of Rand Paul.

    Rand Paul’s boycott of the inequity displayed by Fox News forced Rand to forgo the under-card-joke-of-a-debate — instead he is going directly to Iowa to present his case.

    Even if the Christian vote is split even btw Trump and Cruz, Rand Paul will garner enough Tea Party/Libertarian votes to place Cruz far behind in 2nd place (a nice surprise will be if Rand Paul wins 2nd, and Cruz is third).

    Here is what Rand is doing to negate the Canadian (didn’t we have enough of the Kenyan..!):

    Rand Paul Attack Ad Against Cruz: Audit The Ted

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdxyDPl9Wl0

    So funny — Audit the Fed next, but audit the Ted now!

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/18/2805259/

    • You need to grow up. Now is not the time for funny cute little sayings as this country is merely a shadow of what it used to be. You should hope Trump doesn’t get the nomination because only one thing will truly save this country and that is strong conservatism, which Trump is anything but. Sure, I too like many of the things Trump says. I also cringe at many of his comments like Megan Kelly and her bleeding, Carly Fiorina and her face and the handicapped reporter that Trump made fun of, just to name a few. I don’t want a President like that. However, I would settle for ANYONE that is not a Democrat. Rand paul won’t even make a dent in Iowa or anywhere else for that matter, not that I am against him because I am not.

      • “…this country is merely a shadow of what it used to be.”
        You mean like when it was legal to own slaves? ..or when 75 years after the civil war there were still lynch mobs terrorizing black folks?.. or when ALL women couldn’t vote (until the 1920s)? ..or when only men who owned substantial property could vote (until the 1830s)? ..or maybe you mean when we invaded Hawaii, the Philippines and Panama in the 1890s? ..or Vietnam in the 1960s? ..or helped overthrow the democratically elected presidents of Iran in 1954, Guatemala in ’53-’54, and Chile in ’73 (just to name a few), installing vicious dictatorships who oppressed their peoples for decades ?.. or do you mean when with the help of the *Repugnantcan controlled congress*, Dumbocrat President Bill Clinton successfully passed NAFTA, which allowed cheap, subsidized gringo corn to be dumped on the Mexican markets, bankrupting millions of small subsistence Mexican farmers, who then had nowhere else to turn but to either get involved with the drug trade (to the “great” gringo market) and the drug wars that have killed OVER 100,000 human beings and counting… or flee north across the border ?

        • Convenient, how you skipped the 1980s like that! And the booming 20s, too. Not to mention the 40s, where we overthrew the Nazis! I guess none of that matters now, huh?

          No, this nation’s not a perfect one nor has it ever been, but if you think Trump is going to change that, you couldn’t be more wrong.

          • Convenient ? How so ?
            You mention the 80’s.. so i guess you mean when we invaded Nicaragua with our proxy “Contra” army ?.. and, btw, we invaded them in the 20’s as well, when we sent our marines to chase after Sandino, before we lured him into a “peace” conference and then assassinated him and helped install the 50 year long dictatorship of the Somoza family, remember that one ?..
            And actually from 1890 to the present it’s just been one long list of invasions, take-overs, covert actions, assassinations, and economic destabilizations of smaller, more defenseless nations, and all for the benefit of people just like Trump (and Hitler), including many corporate bosses and other maniacs drunk with greed and power-lust.
            As for overthrowing Hitler, not all of America was on board with that, you know. He was one of IBM’s biggest customers, since they designed a punch-card system to help him accurately and efficiently identify, track and ultimately attempt to eliminate the Jews; and Lockheed Martin, they designed planes with the latest in aeronautical engineering for Goring’s Luftwaffe, and then once the war started they still were helping Hitler through their foreign subsidiaries; and of course, Brown Brother’s Bank (read Prescott Bush, GW’s granpa) who arranged for the financing Hitler needed to re-arm Germany; and Henry Ford, who was such a big supporter and ally he received a German medal of honor from Goring, personally, and then wore it with pride.
            How you could get the impression that i think Trump would be a change for the better is beyond me… but perhaps you could benefit from a course in history and another in reading comprehension.

      • You lost me at “I would settle for anyone.” Trump is just as big gov’t as anyone on Team Blue. They’ll take in illegals to keep themselves rich and popular, he’ll keep illegals out to keep himself rich and popular. That is not principal, that is populism and that is what got Hitler into power. God forbid the final fall of America happen by way of the Republican party. I’ll say it now – by looking at the polls, I’d say there’s a 95% chance that I’ll vote for Cruz in November, even if he’s not on the ballot. And guess what?! The other 5% certainly does NOT belong to Trump/Bush/Christie, etc.

  2. I find it quite funny that christians vote for Donald Trump, even though he rejects one of the most clear values in the bible. “God” wants christians to let refugees in, in Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34 and Matthew 25:35 it`s quite clear that “god” is for, letting refugees in, or sujourners as the bible calls them. To make it clear don`t think that the bible has good values for the most part.

    I know that the bible contradicts itself very often, but this is clear in the bible and Donald Trump is totally against letting most of the refugees in to the us.

  3. By waging a war for Christian votes, is that what Trump calls Christianity? Instead of admitting that he was wrong in citing a scriptural text in 2(SECOND) Corinthians (which he most likely can’t spell unless he looks at the word) he puts the pronunciation off on his mother. Are you kidding me? REALLY Mr. Trump? Presbyterians and every other denomination knows how to CORRECTLY state 2 Corinthians the right way. They also are able to state the verse without reading it. It is clear that his knowledge of the Bible is very limited. he knows about some denominations but claims he has never heard of others. Mr. Trump needs to stop making excuses on things he knows very little about. Does he even know the history or Presbyterians or any other religious group? If he doesn’t, he’d better start learning something and not just told about it by Jerry Falwell. He needs to learn it for himself. The Bible tells us we need to work out our own salvation. That means it doesn’t come from someone else. Too many people go by what a minister says instead of learning it for them self.

  4. A question for Mr. Trump: “Why Mr. Trump have you not voted in the last 6 presidential primaries ? Did you forget to vote?

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