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Pew: Trump's job approval rating among white evangelicals shrinks by 17 points

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he holds a rally in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. December 8, 2017.

There has been a significant decline in President Donald Trump's job approval rating since February, and it is most noticeable among white evangelical Protestants, a group that proved to be his core voting bloc in the 2016 elections.

A study conducted by Pew Research Center has found that only 61 percent of white evangelicals said that they approved of Trump's handling of the presidency. The latest findings show a 17-percentage-point decline from 78 percent of white evangelicals who said they approved of Trump's handling of the office in February.

Exit polls from the 2016 general elections have shown that more than eight out of 10 white evangelicals and white born-again Christian had voted for Trump.

The latest Pew survey indicated that there has been an across-the-board decrease in Trump's approval rating, including an eight-percentage-point drop in approval from Republicans.

The decline is also noticeable among Catholics, with a 10-percentage-point decrease from 36 percent in February to 26 percent in December.

Among black Protestants, Trump's approval has shrunk from 12 percent in February to just seven percent in December.

The president's approval rating dropped the least among white Mainline Protestants, falling from a 49 percent approval to just 46 percent.

For the study, Pew interviewed 1,503 adults from all 50 states between Nov. 29 and Dec. 4. Overall, 32 percent of the public approves of the way Trump is handling his job as president, a seven-percentage-point decrease from 39 percent in February.

The findings further revealed that 26 percent of Trump's supporters were disappointed by aspects of his personal style. Fourteen percent complained about the president's use of Twitter or social media, and another 14 percent said they disapprove of his behavior or speech. Only 13 percent of those who approve of Trump said that they were disappointed by his policies.

The release of Pew's findings came after the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) published the results of a poll that showed 72 percent of white evangelicals "approve" of the job Trump is doing as president.

The PRRI poll was conducted among 351 white evangelicals between Oct. 8-30. The results also revealed that more than four in 10 white evangelicals consider themselves "weak" Trump supporters who could still stop supporting the president. Three in 10 white evangelicals were "strong" supporters of Trump who answered that "there's almost nothing President Trump could do to lose my approval."

The PRRI study also found that 25 percent of white evangelical Protestant Republicans prefer another candidate to be the Republican presidential nominee in three years, while 37 percent of non-white evangelicals said they also prefer "someone else."

Sixty-eight percent still prefer Trump over "someone else" in the 2020 GOP race, while 63 percent of average Republicans and 56 percent of non-evangelical Republicans said the same.

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