Honors Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Journalism

First Advisor

John Baker

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Evangelicalism, a movement grounded in faith and individual morality, appeared to integrate into the GOP in the late-1970s and 1980s. In 2016, national newspapers reported that 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, prompting a question of how the movement is defined today. I look at the recent history of the evangelical movement and the troubles that scholars, analysts and other cultural observers have had in offering a conclusive definition for the term. Next, I seek to answer how print journalists define the term and how that influences or is informed by polling results on Election Day. I interview reporters and editors at some of the top newspapers in the U.S. for individual definitions and ask about the methodologies used in identifying evangelicals and measuring the vote of the religious demographic.

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