November 18, 2011
Iowa Poll Shows Religious Breakdown in GOP Race
Those who will likely vote in Iowa’s presidential caucuses remain undecided, a new poll suggests. Those that did report an opinion in the poll admitted that they could still be persuaded to change their vote.
Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney are leading the pack among likely caucus goers, according to a poll conducted by Iowa State University, The Gazette, and KCRG of 1,256 of registered Iowa voters. Other candidates received single-digit support in the Hawkeye State.
Herman Cain received the most votes among Catholics (35 percent) and Protestant/born-again (25 percent), but he has very little support among secular voters (10 percent). Secular voters represent a small portion of caucus voters, but they are the most unified with six-in-ten of them backing Ron Paul.
Among religious voters, born-again Protestants are the least supportive of Mitt Romney. Only one-in-eight born-again voters support the former governor of Massachusetts, compared to nearly one-in-four support among other Protestants. Evangelicals are twice as likely to support Rick Perry compared to other religious voters.
Michele Bachmann is also trailing in the poll, partly due to her lack of support (0 percent in the poll) among Catholics. Bachmann's former membership in a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran church in Stillwater, Minnesota, previously drew some attention earlier this year because the Synod suggests that the Catholic Papacy is the Antichrist.
The poll found a high level of fluidity among voters. Dave Peterson of Iowa State said that the race in Iowa is still up for grabs.
“My take away from these results is that voters are still really unsure of whom they will support. Over half of the people are still trying to decide, and another third are merely leaning toward a candidate,” said Peterson, who is interim director of the Harkin Institute of Public Policy. “When asked, people will express a preference for one candidate, but that they will also admit that this is a weak attitude. This is anyone's race at this point.”
Religious voters appear fairly undecided.
“Religious voters are particularly fluid at this time," Peterson said. "While only around 16 percent of all voters say they have made up their mind, the rate is even lower amongst voters of faith. 37 percent of secular voters say that they have made up their mind, but less than 10 percent of voters who identify as either Catholic or Protestant have made a firm choice.”
Iowans cast votes for the GOP nomination on January 3.