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March 28, 2011

Poll Finds Religious Split in GOP Presidential Primaries

Just 318 days before the Iowa caucuses launch the first round of the presidential primaries, a poll suggests a religious divide among Republican primary voters. Former Arkansas governor (and former Baptist pastor) Mike Huckabee polls well among church-goers and evangelicals who are key voting blocs in the Republican primary, according to a new poll by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Pew finds Huckabee and Romney leading the field among Republicans nationwide, each with around one-fifth of Republicans naming them as their top choice. But there is a religious split among GOP voters, with 29 percent of white evangelicals favoring Huckabee and only 15 percent picking Romney.

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Huckabee did about as well among Catholics (27 vs. 16 percent). Huckabee's support among white mainline Protestants was lower (15 percent); Romney was the top-choice of 22 percent of mainliners.

In general, Huckabee performs best among religious voters, with 30 percent of those who attend church weekly supporting him. Romney, however, polled best among those who are not religious. He is the top pick among those who do not attend church weekly (24 percent). Within the GOP, one-third of those who are not religious or belong to a smaller faith group want Romney as the Republican nominee. Only 7 percent said they preferred Huckabee. Indeed, both former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (14 percent) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) (8 percent) did better than Huckabee among those who are nonreligious or belong to a smaller faith group.

Palin also did well among evangelicals, with 16 percent voicing support for her. A sizable number of mainline Protestants also support her (13 percent). She fared worse among Catholics, with only six percent naming her as their top choice.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was named by around one-in-ten GOP voters, but he did best among religious voters. He did well among evangelicals, with around 11 percent support. He is more popular among Catholics and Mainline Protestants (each with 16 percent). Unaffiliated and other voters, however, named him only 2 percent of the time.

Frequent choices were “none of the above” and “I don't know.” Around 15 percent of voters do not support any candidate at this point. Those who are not religious were the most likely to not name anyone (21 percent); evangelicals were more likely to have made a pick, with only 11 percent not naming a candidate.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is one of the few to have formerly started a campaign, but he is one of the many who were named by a small percentage of GOP voters. Others who had less than 10 percentage points in the poll were Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In the poll, white evangelicals make up one-third of Republican voters (compared to 18 percent nationwide). About half of the GOP voters say they attend church at least once a week. But the influence of these groups is more important in Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, and some other early primary states where the field of candidates is narrowed.

Comments

If Huckabee or Romney win the GOP nomination, I'll switch my party registration to independent and vote third party. As bad as Obama is, the last thing we need is an evangelical statist who is conservative on social policy and nothing else. Neither do we need a desparate-to-win-at-any-cost flip-flopping say-anything-to-get-elected flim-flam shyster like Romney. If we're going off a financial cliff, we might as well go full throttle instead of just easing off the gas a little.

I'm just about ready to give up on the GOP as it is. Huckabee or Romney will prove the party (and the country) is beyond all hope.

What is wrong with evangelical Huckabee?Evangelical mindset think noble and kind thought for the people.And if Huckabee is no conservative,then should he be liberal?

Huck is a great man,and whose goasl in life we know,and which part was he wrong?

Among likely candidates, the only chice for conservatives (social, fiscal, and religious) is Pawlenty. He isn't exciting but he is solid. In light of our current President, competence may be determinative.

And I wouldn't vote for either one!

No Romney. No Newt. No Palin. Nobama. No Huckabee.
Bolton, ok.
No endorsement from me at all really, only tolerance for Bolton.

Sarah Palin’s negatives are all based on lies. A campaign will bring her character and abilities to light. The darkness hates the light. The truth will win in the end.

Don’t let the media liars pick who we should not vote for. If anything, their hate of her is evidence that she is the right choice.

As a lifelong Baptist and evangelical Christian, I find the President and Democratic party actually best reflects values that protect people, elderly, working class folks, and reflect thoughtful, kind, and reasonable approaches to solving the major challenges facing us all. I wonder how many evangelicals see thru parties and candidates that are really focused on furthering corporate interests and greater rewards and tax breaks for CEOs, hedge fund managers, and the like. Like the last election, a lot of evangelicals are not automatically falling into line behind the GOP.

As usual, evangelical voters will go with the evangelical candidate who says "Jesus" the most, no matter how incompetent he/she is or how inimical to Christianity his/her policies are. I remember back in 1996 when we conservatives had a chance to put a true conservative, pro-life man in the WHite House, in the form of Pat Buchanan. However, when that cupie doll Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition threw his support to the Republican establishment candidate (in return for what reward, I wonder) all the evangelicals blindly obeyed his orders, like dumb sheep.