Americans who attend religious services frequently were more likely to vote for former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, a new analysis found. But Mr. Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, won a larger share of white Catholic voters than the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton garnered in 2016.
“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,” the Pew Research Center analysis found.
According to the report, Mr. Trump won support of 59 percent of voters who attend religious services frequently compared to 40 percent for Mr. Biden. But for Americans who worship a few times per year or less, Mr. Biden won 58 percent compared to Mr. Trump’s 40 percent.
Americans who attend religious services frequently were more likely to vote for former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
When it comes to Catholic voters, the overall tally was about split: Fifty percent of Catholic voters went for Mr. Trump while 49 percent chose Mr. Biden. Among white Catholic voters, 57 percent picked Mr. Trump compared to 42 percent for Mr. Biden. Ms. Clinton, meanwhile, only garnered the support of 31 percent of white Catholic voters in 2016—11 points less than Mr. Biden.
But following trends of broader religious engagement and voting, the frequency of Mass attendance correlated with stronger support for Mr. Trump, the report found.
For white Catholics who attend Mass at least monthly, 63 percent voted for Mr. Trump compared to 36 percent for Mr. Biden. For white Catholics who attend less frequently, support for Mr. Trump fell to 53 percent and rose to 47 percent for Mr. Biden.
Gregory Smith, an associate director of research at Pew, said that in 2020 white Catholics were notable in how higher rates of attendance at religious services led to greater support for Mr. Trump.
Among white Catholic voters, 57 percent picked Mr. Trump compared to 42 percent for Mr. Biden.
When it came to white evangelical Christians, more than eight in 10 who attend religious services at least once a month, as well as those who attend less frequently, supported Mr. Trump. For non-evangelical white Christians, greater attendance at religious services meant greater support for Mr. Biden.
Mr. Biden, who regularly attends Mass both in Washington and near his home in Delaware, has faced criticism from several U.S. bishops since his January inauguration. On the day Mr. Biden was sworn in, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José Gomez, sent a letter in which he used strong language to condemn Mr. Biden’s support for abortion rights, prompting a rare public rebuke from a high-ranking U.S. cardinal and a Vatican official.
Then, in June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to proceed with drafting a document about the Eucharist that could include a section aimed at prohibiting Communion for Catholic political leaders who dissent from church teaching. Though the main backers of the document have said they do not anticipate it being used to deny Communion to any individual Catholics, several other bishops who spoke at that meeting condemned Mr. Biden’s support for abortion rights.
The body of bishops is expected to vote on a draft of the document this November.
The strongest support for Mr. Biden in terms of religious demographics included Black Protestants (91 percent), atheist or agnostic (86 percent) and people of non-Christian faiths (64 percent). Mr Trump’s support among white evangelicals remained high in 2020, with 84 percent choosing him over Mr. Biden.
The report was based on a survey of just under 10,000 voters in the 2020 election, a sample size that did not allow for an analysis of voting preferences for Hispanic or Asian Americans.