With nearly 78 percent of white evangelical Protestants approving of Trump's job performance, the faith group is the only one surveyed by the Pew Research Center that overwhelmingly supports him.
White evangelicals have listed Trump's commitment to an antiabortion platform and his refusal to advance pro-LGBT policies, such as his directive to ban transgender people from the military, among the reasons for their continued support for him.
But for many voters outside the demographic's tribe, “family values” go beyond abortion and LGBT issues and into what is best for children. A large majority — two-thirds — of Americans say Trump is not a good role model for young people.
“Americans say President Trump is damaging the country's image globally, flunking the decency test and setting a bad example for kids. There's no way to spin or sugarcoat it. The optics are ugly,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) voted for Trump in 2016, but the father of two daughters told Christianity Today that he was “frustrated” with his options.
“What I really look for in a presidential candidate is someone who is a great role model, and I didn’t get that this time. I was very frustrated. I didn’t have a good option. I didn’t have that person who I would say is a great role model for my daughters and for my family.”
Those looking at Trump in the way that Lankford does may feel that way because of the president's alleged affairs with an adult-film actress and Playboy model while married to Melania Trump. Or Trump openly bragging about grabbing women by the genitals. Or Trump's social media habits, which include responding to threats of violence from former vice president Joe Biden with more threats.
But to some people, it's not just Trump's behavior and character that draw concerns about the example he sets for children. Even Pope Francis has suggested that Trump's policies aren't “pro-life” enough, and therefore not in the best interest of the next generation.
After Trump decided to discontinue protections for young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers,” America Magazine, a Jesuit publication, reported the pope saying:
“I have heard it said that the president of the United States presents himself as a man who is pro-life, and if he is a good pro-life [man], then he will understand that the family is the cradle of life and that it must be defended as a unit.”
Some may argue that defending the family means protecting kids from negative influences.
The Southern Poverty Law Center produced “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools,” a report of approximately 2,000 teachers claiming that the presidential campaign had a profoundly negative impact on schoolchildren across the country.
“We’re deeply concerned about the level of fear among minority children who feel threatened by both the incendiary campaign rhetoric and the bullying they’re encountering in school,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said. “We’ve seen Donald Trump behave like a 12-year-old, and now we’re seeing 12-year-olds behave like Donald Trump.”
After more than a year in the White House, views of whether the president is a good role model haven't changed much. Nearly 7 in 10 said Trump was not a positive role model in a July 2017 Washington Post-ABC News poll. Despite consistently low approval ratings, the president has not shown any significant changes in his comments and behaviors since the campaign. The question is, will there be significant changes among those — including “family values” voters — who support his vision for making America great.