A respected Christian pollster suggests that a modest four-point drop in President Trump's approval rating among evangelicals ought to raise a red flag for the commander-in-chief.
When the American Culture & Family Institute polled born-again voters shortly after the election, 58 percent of them looked on President Trump favorably. One year later, 54 percent still see him that way. ACFI executive director George Barna says if it drops much more, the president may be doomed to one term.
"If you were to model a future election such that Mr. Trump lost five percent of the born-again vote, he would not be able win enough of those swing states to be able to maintain his Electoral College margin," he elaborates.
Elections are "a numbers game," Barna writes – and those numbers, he says, indicate pretty clearly that Trump can't afford even the slightest erosion from his support base. Making it even more critical is the fact that instead of having three more years to shore up those numbers, Trump has a mere eight months, notes Barna.
"The midterm elections are going to be critical [because] if the Democrats do win the House and the Senate – which is a possibility – all we're going to be hearing about is impeachment proceedings," says the pollster.
That, he argues, would doom the president's conservative agenda and any hope he has of impressing the evangelical community.
"Communications is going to be critical," Barna continues. "His Twitter activity has died down a little bit – that's intentional. But there's going to have to be a lot of direct communication with the Christian community about the things that are taking place.
"We've seen dramatic rises in people's favorability towards him when he really scales back a lot of the sarcasm and a lot of the negative tweets and whatnot."
He adds that the president has to have more high-profile successes with his pro-life and immigration reform efforts – both strongly favored by the evangelical community. That community, however, is "on edge," says Barna, because of Trump's inability to get Congress on board with other pressing issues.
So there is a path for the president to follow, according to Barna – but the question is: Does he have the restraint to follow it?