Quarter of Americans think God wanted Donald Trump to become president

President Donald Trump has enjoyed strong support from white evangelicalsReuters

Sarah Sanders was the subject of some derision when she shared her belief that God 'wanted Donald Trump to become president'.  But it clear she's not the only one. 

A new poll by Fox News reveals that a quarter of registered voters in the US share the same conviction and not surprisingly, that figure increases significantly among white evangelicals to over half (55 per cent).

Republicans are also far more likely to believe that Trump was God's pick for the White House (45 per cent), even among female Republicans (49 per cent).

Similarly, 42 per cent of male Republicans hold the same view as do 40 per cent of voters who describe themselves as conservative. 

By contrast, only nine per cent of Democrats agreed that God wanted Donald Trump to become president.  Those who described themselves as liberal also overwhelming rejected the idea, with 85 per cent disagreeing.

Trump has enjoyed strong support from white evangelicals throughout his presidency.  After his surprise victory in 2016, evangelist Franklin Graham declared, 'God showed up.'

One of his fiercest defenders is Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who this week blasted anti-Trump Christians as 'spineless morons' who 'cannot admit they were wrong'.

He made the controversial comments in an interview with conservative radio host Todd Starnes while railing against Democrats for rolling back late-term abortion regulations. 

'This is an issue of life and death. This is so black and white, so much about good versus evil. I don't get it,' Jeffress said.

'It really goes to the core of who we are as a country and what kind of a country we have in the future, and if we can't get this issue of life right, I just don't know where we're going to go down the road.' 

Trump has seized on the late-term abortion debate to firm up support among his pro-life supporter base. 

In his State of the Union address last month and again this week at a Texas rally, Trump promised to fight any relaxation of the laws around late-term abortions. 

'Millions of innocent beautiful babies are counting on us to protect them. And we will,' he said at the El Paso rally on Tuesday.

Aware of the importance of evangelical support, Trump has repeated promises to work with them and for them, most recently at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he vowed to protect religious freedom and the sanctity of life.  

'I will never let you down - never,' he told them. 

He made a similar promise on Religious Freedom Day last month, when he said religious freedom was 'under attack'. 

'Tragically, attacks on people of faith and their houses of worship have increased in frequency in recent years,' Trump said.

'My Administration is taking action to protect religious liberty and to seek justice against those who seek to abridge it.'