AP

About seven in 10 white evangelical Protestants approve of President Donald Trump’s handling of his job, according to a new survey -- support from a cornerstone of his political base that has remained strong following a polarising church visit and a Supreme Court ruling on LGBT discrimination that disheartened some conservatives.

Trump’s 72 per cent approval among white evangelicals in June, released Wednesday by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, represents a fall of six percentage points since a similar April survey. But it also comes as his campaign steps up its appeals to religious voters ahead of November’s election, and after Trump faced criticism from two faith leaders in the wake of his 1st June photo op at St John’s Church near the White House, for which protesters were forcibly cleared from a nearby park.

Trump and Bible St Johns

 President Donald Trump holds a Bible during a visit outside St John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington on 1st June. Polling released by the non-partisan Pew Research Center on Wednesday, 1st July, finds that Trump's strong approval among white evangelicals - a cornerstone of his political base - remains intact in the wake of the previous month's photo op at the church, which sparked criticism from some religious leaders, and the Supreme Court's ruling to protect LGBT people from employment discrimination. PICTURE: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky.

The survey also was conducted after a Supreme Court decision last month that shielded LGBT people from employment discrimination, a ruling that dismayed religious conservatives and saw Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch side with more liberal justices. The survey’s findings about Trump’s white evangelical approval are in line with a fall in his general approval among all Americans, which declined from 44 per cent in April to 39 per cent in June.

Despite the tick downward, Trump’s approval among white evangelicals has remained largely consistent over his presidency, like his approval rating overall.

Beyond evangelicals’ sustained approval, the survey also found a majority of two other Christian groups continuing to register approval of the president. Trump tallied 56 per cent approval among non-evangelical white Protestants in June and 54 per cent approval among white Catholics.

Among Black Protestants, Trump’s approval ticked up from 10 per cent in January to 21 per cent in April, but fell back down to 12 per cent in June, amid ongoing demonstrations against racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Trump’s approval among Hispanic Catholics in June stood at 23 per cent, with 74 per cent disapproving, similar to its level in January. Religiously unaffiliated voters, a category that includes those who identify as atheist or agnostic and those who identify as “nothing in particular,” registered 24 per cent approval of Trump in June, also similar to January.

The survey did not break down Trump’s approval among other religious groups due to insufficient sample sizes.