A new, comprehensive study on religion in the presidential race was released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Pew polling traditionally confirmed Americans prefer candidates who are people of faith; half of Americans say they would be less likely to vote for a non-believer. Only 5 percent of Republicans in the new poll said Trump was "very religious," compared to 47 percent for Ben Carson, 30 percent for Ted Cruz, and 20 percent for Marco Rubio. But while Trump is seen by Republicans as the least religious GOP candidate, he also is seen as the most likely GOP candidate to be a good or a great president.
The poll was entitled "A closer look at religion in the Super Tuesday states."
A total of 56 percent Pew respondents indicated Trump would be a good or a great president, compared to 53 percent for Cruz and 44 percent each for Carson and Rubio. White, evangelical Protestants put Carson and Trump at 52 percent, Cruz at 49 percent and Rubio at 34 percent.
Trump's ability to draw the evangelical vote continues to surprise many religious leaders and political pundits.
On the Democratic side, 51 percent of religiously unaffiliated Democrats said Bernie Sanders would be a good or great president, compared to Hillary Clinton at 42 percent. Among Black Protestant Democrats, Clinton led Sanders 62 percent to 36 percent. Both groups put Rubio, Trump and Cruz at 15 percent or less.
Republicans and Democrats differ sharply on whether Clinton is religious.
Two-thirds of Democrats say she is very or somewhat religious, while two-thirds of Republicans say she is not too, or not at all religious. Among all Americans, 48 percent say she is religious, compared to 40 percent for Sanders.
Republicans and Democrats also differ on how much influence people of faith have in the political parties, according to Pew numbers.
Republicans across the Super Tuesday states were more likely than Democrats to say religion was important to them, 66 percent to 53 percent.
As expected, the poll found Oklahoma is one of the most religious of the Super Tuesday states, reports Tulsa World.
Seventy-two percent of respondents in Oklahoma, and also in Super Tuesday states Arkansas and Alabama, told Pew that religion was "very important" to them, compared to just 33 percent in Massachusetts.
Pew found that 79 percent of Oklahoma adults are Christian: 47 percent evangelical Protestant, 18 percent mainline Protestant and 8 percent Catholic.
Seventy-one percent are absolutely certain God exists, and another 18 percent are fairly certain. Two-thirds pray daily; half read scripture at least weekly; 79 percent believe in heaven; and 67 percent believe in hell.