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Overwhelming white evangelical support might have been what launched Trump to victory

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Evangelical voters proved to be a force to be reckoned with on Election Day.

According to the Washington Post, evangelical voters came out in force Tuesday, overwhelmingly supporting and voting for President-elect Donald Trump. Exit poll numbers showed that Trump won the voting bloc of “white evangelicals” by a whopping 65 points, 81 percent to 16 percent.

That strong showing undoubtedly aided his victory, according to political data website FiveThirtyEight.

The last time any presidential candidate saw a margin of victory with that bloc that even approached Trump's level of support was 2004, when evangelicals overwhelmingly chose former President George W. Bush over Sen. John Kerry by a 57-point margin, 78 percent to 21 percent.

White evangelicals are the GOP’s most powerful group of religious voters as 76 percent of them say they lean GOP. In addition, the group makes up nearly 20 percent of the entire electorate and nearly one-third of all voters who align with the GOP.

The group may have also helped Trump find victory in Florida, where white evangelicals also make up nearly 20 percent of the state’s electorate. Trump won the group — 85 percent to 13 percent — Tuesday night, exit poll data showed.

However, throughout the life of Trump’s candidacy, Christians were torn over Trump. Many Christian leaders such as Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Jr. supported Trump, while others urged their flocks not to find hope in who would become the next president.

Subsequently, many Christians lamented on Twitter about Trump’s victory:

Still, most Americans saw the election as binary: that their only option for president was either Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton. And with Clinton symbolizing much of what evangelicals oppose — abortion, gay marriage, gender fluidity and other progressive social issues — it’s clear many evangelicals voted for the “lesser of two evils."

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