Half of residents in 11 Southern states believe that America was founded as an explicitly Christian nation, a recent Winthrop University poll found.

The view is a crux of Christian Nationalism, said poll director Scott Huffman. Those who espouse Christian Nationalist beliefs support the idea that the United States should be governed as an explicitly Christian nation, protecting Christians and Christian values.

“Research has shown that increases in Christian Nationalist beliefs lead to more exclusionary views on immigration and more negative views of multi-culturalism in America,” Huffmon said. “Those who hold these views care more about whether they have a strong leader who will protect their religious and cultural values than whether a leader is individually pious.”

The Winthrop University Poll randomly dialed and questioned 969 residents in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia between Nov. 10-20 and Nov. 26-Dec. 2. Results have an error margin of plus or minus 3.15 percent.

The poll found that half of residents either agree or strongly agree that America was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.

This position is particularly popular among white evangelicals. In the survey, three-fourths of white evangelical respondents agree or strongly agree with this belief about how the nation was founded.

Some evangelicals were surprised at the survey’s results. The Rev. Dr. Kevin Baird, a conservative who pastors Charleston Legacy Church in West Ashley, said he thought there would have been less agreement among Southerners on whether the nation was founded as a Christian country.

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