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January 10, 2012

Romney, Santorum Tied for Lead Among Evangelicals in New Hampshire

Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary. His margin of victory may have been smaller than predicted, but there was one surprisingly strong result: Romney tied Rick Santorum for the lead among evangelical voters (around 26 percent each). Romney did twice as well among born-again Christians in the Granite State than he did last week in the Hawkeye State.

The primary voters in New Hampshire are, on average, more moderate than caucus goers in Iowa. New Hampshire has fewer evangelicals and more Catholics and non-religious voters than Iowa. But evangelicals are evangelicals, and Romney seems to have made significant ground among this key part of the Republican coalition.

These results could be an anomaly, but it may also signal a new dynamic to the race. The conventional wisdom was that the social conservative voters were splitting their vote. As candidates like Michele Bachmann dropped out, they would shift their support to another social conservative candidate. In the first test of this, the only difference between the evangelical vote in New Hampshire and Iowa was the vote for Romney. With Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann no-shows in New Hampshire, Romney seems to have picked up the difference in the evangelical vote.

The same pattern holds for other key parts of the GOP base. Romney won the plurality of votes among those who said they were “conservative” in politics. Among those who described themselves as “very conservative” on social issues like gay marriage and abortion, Romney and Santorum tied with 27 percent of the vote.

Ron Paul continued to get his 20 percent of the evangelical vote, as he did in Iowa. Huntsman did worse among evangelicals than those who are not (10 vs. 20 percent). Santorum did far better among born-again Christians. The former Pennsylvania senator did nearly four times as well among evangelicals than other voters (26 vs. 7 percent).

Because evangelicals made up only one-quarter of the primary voters in New Hampshire, their influence is smaller than in Iowa or in this Saturday's primary in South Carolina. Still, if Romney had done as poorly with evangelicals as he did in Iowa, his margin of victory could have slipped into the single digits. This weekend, a strong showing among evangelicals could mean the difference between a win or a loss in South Carolina.


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Comments

SAD SAD SAD

Faith matters. Romney is not a Christian. Evangelicals unfortunately are not informed and don't understand what Mormons really believe.

Mormons are a cult. They believe Satan and Jesus are brothers! They believe when their god decided which of his sons to send to earth to be their savior, he could have just as easily chosen Satan.

THAT IS EXTREME HERESY! Why don't we "evangelicals" get it? What one believes matters. It matters a lot. Satan masks himself as an angel of light. So do the Mormons!

Scott Singletary
Georgia

I continue to be amazed at the fascination that "evangelicals" have with the philosophy of the Republican party as if there is something uniquely christian about it, even though the economic philosophy which they follow has been expounded by someone who claims not to believe in God. All the republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, subscribe to the ideas of Milton Friedman. Ron Paul believes in Austrian economic theory, which is also similar in some respects. How come no CT writers seem to be aware of these facts, gleefully assuming the equation of republicanism with christianity. That is the real heresy, not the nonsense about the Mormons.

I think that Mitt Romney is a Mormon Deacon. I think that Mormons believe that Jesus is not God and they say that the Christian churches are an affront to their Mormon god and will not go in any. Mr. Romney and Mr. Huntsman didn’t go in the church that held the debate, did they?

I have read that those that believe in Mormonism think that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers, and that Jesus was conceived when God and Mary had physical relations.

The main point that strikes me as I observe the campaign and the christian media is that much of the so-called "christian" media, in characteristically unchristianlike fashion, that is if you base your definition of christian on the sayings and teachings of Jesus Christ, seem to have decided that President Obama is not a christian, that the only issues for christians to consider are abortion and "conservative" concerns, that the concern expressed by the Lord Jesus Christ about those who are poor or low in the social scale are completely disregarded, contrary to the teachings specifically referred to Jesus himself in the Gospels, and the attacks on the President as waging a "war against religion" have no substance in fact but can only be classified as propanda (those charges were refuted on CNN by T.D.Jakes recently and other non-christian media), so there is an uneasy feeling as I look at this that some evangelicals may want to torn the clock back because the politicians that they follow have said that the civil rights laws should not have been enacted and other such things, but I have not heard any "politically activist" evangelicals expressing a position on these issues. The only issue is abortion and stopping planned parenthood. So much effort and money is spent saving the "unborn" while the poor and downtrodden who are alive are completely ignored by the followers of Him who said "inasmuch as you do it to one of these, you are doing it to me". So what is the world to think when they read the supposedly source of right and wrong of the evangelicals and see them ignoring the commands of their leader with respect to the needs of those who are alive and need assistance. Are they for real, or is this just more pretense?