Donald Trump says he has a 'great relationship with God'

The Republican front runner has been ratcheting up the religious rhetoric in anticipation of the first round of Republican nomination voting.  

Donald Trump has claimed that he has a "very great relationship with God" in another attempt to tap into the support of white conservative Christians,

The remarks, made in an interview with CNN, follow his increasing efforts to appeal to the pool of evangelical Christian voters in Iowa, with whom Trump also claims he has a “very great relationship."

The Iowa caucuses, the first major electoral event for the Presidential nomination, take place on 1 February.

In 2012, white evangelicals made up 57% of the electorate in the key state, while they are also a strong voter bloc in the southern states.  

Trump, who owns casinos, has been married three times and once referred to communion as "my little wine and my little cracker," has demonstrated an increased spirituality in the months of his campaign.

Previously in Iowa, Trump told the Christian Family Leadership Summit that he believed in God but had never asked him for forgiveness. 

He has claimed that his favourite book is the Bible, even placing it ahead of his own autobiography and business manual ‘The Art of the Deal.’

“As much as I love 'The Art of the Deal,' it's not even close.  We take the Bible all the way," he told a rally in Alabama. 

Asked by Bloomberg  if his favourite part of scripture was the Old or New Testament, he replied: "Probably equal. I think it's just incredible," he said.

However, he has declined to say which part of his favourite book he most enjoyed, believing it to be a personal matter and that he didn’t want to “get into specifics.”

At the 2015 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. he defended the right to a celebrate Jesus’ birth: "I love Christmas. You go to stores now, you don't see the word 'Christmas'," he said. "Remember the expression 'Merry Christmas'? You don't see it anymore. You're going to see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now."

In more sensitive voter issues, his attitude to family values and abortion align with many conservative Christian voters.    

However, despite considerable support polled for Trump on the right, it has by no means been universal.  

In September 2015, a Gallup poll rated him poorly among highly religious Republican voters, trailing in 12th place with a favourability rating of just 22%.  

Rival candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz were seen in a more positive light, with favourability ratings of 56% and 45% respectively.  

Some religious voters cite inconsistencies in Trump’s past on some of key positions – he was once in favour of a pro-choice attitude to abortion and has spoken in favour on the law protecting same sex marriages.  

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