Many people of faith in the U.S, particularly Evangelical Christians, regard President Donald Trump as an ally in the White House. But only 27% of voters think Trump is himself religious, according to a Politico/Morning Consult tracking poll released Wednesday.
Seventeen percent in the survey said they "somewhat agree" that Trump is religious and another 10% said they "strongly agree" that he is. Fifty-five percent did not agree, with 14% saying they "somewhat disagree" and 41% saying they "strongly disagree." Eighteen percent said they didn't know or had no opinion. Among voters who identified as Christian, 34% thought the president was religious, 12% of them strongly, while 50% did not.
Two out of five Evangelicals agreed Trump is religious, making them the subgroup with the highest percentage believing so. Sixteen percent of them said they strongly agree that he is religious, and 24% said they somewhat agree. Sixty-two percent of Catholics said the president was not religious.
The poll was conducted June 6-7 from a sample of 1,992 voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The survey found the president's overall job approval rating at 39%, the first time the tracking poll has found it under 40% since December.
Trump is counting on support from Christian voters in his bid for reelection against the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The president was widely criticized this month for posing for photographs while holding a Bible outside the historic St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House after peaceful protesters against police brutality were forcefully cleared from the area. The church had sustained fire damage when protests turned violent the night before.
Trump told Fox News Radio that "church leaders loved that I went there with a Bible." But many religious leaders did not, including Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, who told CNN she was "outraged" by the event.
"The president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for," Budde said.
Trump's former White House press secretary Sean Spicer asked Trump about his faith in a June 3 NewsMax interview.
"Since you've been president, have you grown in your faith?" Spicer asked. "Do you pray? Do you pray often? You've talked a lot about religion this week. What does it mean to you?"
He replied, "So, I think maybe I have, from the standpoint that I see so much that I can do. I've done so much for religion."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump: Just 27% of voters think president is religious, poll finds