Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have drawn the most support from evangelical leaders and insiders, despite the fact that their rival Donald Trump continues to top many polls for conservatives.
A recently published survey polling 84 evangelical leaders and insiders was conducted by World Mag, with results showing that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) topped the rankings, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) following closely behind in second.
Here’s how the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates tallied up in order:
- Marco Rubio (38 percent 1st choice, 28 percent 2nd choice)
- Ted Cruz (30 percent 1st choice, 22 percent 2nd choice)
- Jeb Bush (7 percent 1st choice, 13 percent 2nd choice)
- Carly Fiorina (5 percent 1st choice, 11 percent 2nd choice)
- Mike Huckabee (5 percent 1st choice, 2 percent 2nd choice)
- John Kasich (4 percent 1st choice, 2 percent 2nd choice)
- Ben Carson (2 percent 1st choice, 4 percent 2nd choice)
- Rand Paul (2 percent 1st choice, 1 percent 2nd choice)
- Hillary Clinton (2 percent 1st choice, 0 percent 2nd choice)
- Rick Santorum (1 percent 1st choice, 4 percent 2nd choice)
- Lindsey Graham (1 percent 1st choice, 0 percent 2nd choice)
- Donald Trump (0 percent 1st choice, 6 percent 2nd choice)
- Chris Christie (0 percent 1st choice, 5 percent 2nd choice)
- Martin O’Malley (0 percent 1st choice, 1 percent 2nd choice)
- Bernie Sanders (0 percent 1st choice, 0 percent 2nd choice).
According to one participating evangelical leader who heads a conservative political website, Cruz stood out as one of the favorites on the survey for various reasons.
“Cruz gives voice to small government conservatives, many of whom are in the ranks of the evangelical movement” RedState Founder Erick Erickson explained.
Erickson noted that Cruz is a promising candidate for many Christians who are fed up with ultra-liberals setting policies and laws in America that go against their biblical values.
“After all, if you are a Christian, you know we are all sinners and will gravitate to a candidate promising to reduce the number of sinners controlling your life,” continued the conservative insider, who also duals as a radio host.
No Trumping here
Not coming as a surprise to many Bible-believing Christians watching the polling and presidential debates, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not generating the votes of evangelicals as easily as he is with other conservatives out there.
In fact, not one first-choice vote went to Trump in the survey of evangelical leaders. Furthermore, a whopping 70 percent of those casting their votes in the study indicated that they would “absolutely not” vote for Trump as their Republican candidate of choice in the 2016 presidential election primaries.
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Co-founder Wayne Grudem participated in the survey and would like to see some candidates weeded out in the early rounds who he believes are more self-serving than nation-minded.
“I’m hoping that some of the less-likely GOP candidates will put the interests of the nation before their personal interests and drop out and throw their support to anybody but Trump,” the prominent Christian author and theologian expressed.
Concerned Women for America Director Tonya Shellnutt, who heads the conservative nonprofit organization’s operations in South Carolina, also took part in the survey and believes that those casting their ballots come November will primarily want someone who is not afraid to protect their safety, as well as their Christian values.
“Americans are looking for the candidate they know will take a bold stand to protect America,” Shellnutt said.
Rubio, who has frequently noted that he regularly attends a Protestant church with his wife — but officially considers himself a Catholic — is a promising GOP candidate who has gained acclaim as a powerful speaker. He has also been gaining the support of many evangelicals.
Erickson says that Rubio addresses many of the concerns Christians have when it comes to governing their lives.
“Rubio relates to evangelicals on faith topics in ways few do and has made a concerted effort to woo faith leaders and faith opinion leaders in the country,” the conservative leader stressed.
Amidst his recent rise in the polls, Rubio’s campaign made another appeal to the evangelical crowd last week by releasing a web ad where he can be found focusing on his faith and his connection in values with conservative Christians striving to live their lives in American society according to their biblical calling.
"Our goal is eternity — the ability to live alongside our Creator for all time " Rubio impressed to those viewing his official 2016 presidential election campaign ad. "
Rubio emphasized that his faith in Jesus Christ is the motivating factor behind his life and that he will continue his walk of faith throughout his presidency — if elected.
“That is the purpose of our life — to grow closer in our relationship and to accept the free gift of salvation to us offered by Jesus Christ."