Poll: Fewer than half of Americans say a candidate should have strong religious beliefs
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Forty-eight percent of Americans say it's important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs, compared with 43 percent who said it's not very important, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research nationwide survey found that 25 percent of Americans consider it "extremely or very important" that a candidate for public office has strong religious beliefs, with 23 percent saying it was moderately important.

Nineteen percent of Americans said it was critical for a candidate to have the same religious beliefs as them.


The poll also found that 57 percent of Americans want there to be some religious influence on government policy, particularly on issues of abortion or LGBTQ rights.

The poll was conducted Aug. 16-20 and surveyed 1,055 people. The margin of error is 4.2 percentage points.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE has enjoyed consistent support from evangelical leaders, who have typically backed more conservative candidates. The president hosted evangelical leaders at the White House last month, where he warned them that there would be "violence" if Republicans lose the upcoming midterm elections.

"This Nov. 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it's a referendum on your religion, it's a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment," Trump said during a private portion of the event, according to recorded excerpts obtained by NBC News.