Pollster says progressive 2020 candidate with faith ties would be valuable asset

A Democratic presidential candidate who can connect their religion to progressive values would be a valuable asset in the race against President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE, pollster Dan Cox said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Hill.TV's "What America's Thinking."

"I think Democrats are looking for a foil or someone who is really different from Donald Trump, and they don't want a Trump analog," Cox, a polling and public opinion research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told host Jamal Simmons on Monday. "Someone who can talk authentically about their faith and how it links up to their progressive values is going to be an asset."

Evangelical Christians came out in droves to support Trump on Election Day in 2016, and the president still enjoys widespread support among the religious group.

However, White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg (D), an Episcopalian, has started a new conversation around the topic of faith. The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., has expressed interest in galvanizing the religious left.

"One of the interesting things for me is not just his age, which has been in a lot of the focus, but the fact that he talks so easily, authentically about his faith," Cox said. "It's leading to some talk and speculation about the reemergence of the religious left, and I have my doubts about some of that. There seems to be some sort of hankering for it." 

— Julia Manchester