Support for Donald Trump is being driven by a 'new form of nationalism' heavily backed by evangelical Christians, according to a major new study by Baylor University.
The study – the fifth in a series – found more than 60 per cent of American evangelicals backed him, lower than other surveys that place the number as high as 80 per cent because it is based on the church attended by the respondent rather than their self-identification.
The Baylor study found Trump voters were members of white Evangelical Protestant churches, consider themselves 'very religious' and think of the United States as a Christian nation.
They believe that God is actively engaged in world affairs, fear Muslims and refugees from the Middle East, believe that women are not suited for politics and oppose LGBTQ rights.
It said: 'Taken together, the favoring of emotional truth over fact and the belief that patriotism is fundamentally antigovernment were key components of Trump's rhetoric and popularity.'
The survey said: 'This collection of values and attitudes form the core ethos of what we might call Trumpism. It is a new form of nationalism which merges pro-Christian rhetoric with anti-Islam, anti-feminist, anti-globalist, and anti-government attitudes.'
Furthermore, it said: 'The religiosity of Trump supporters is closely tied to feelings of animosity towards Muslims.'
Very high numbers of Americans who feel threatened by Islam (74 per cent) or feel threatened by Middle Eastern refugees (81 per cent) voted for Trump.
Furthermore, the survey found nearly half of evangelicals believe that Muslims are a physical threat; 'In contrast, three in ten of Americans with no religion think that conservative Christians want to do them harm.'
For Black Protestant respondents, atheists pose the most danger, while American Jews feel most physically threatened not by Muslims but by Conservative Christians.
The results of the survey were released yesterday at the annual meeting of the Religion News Association.