June 4, 2007

White Mainline Protestants and Republican Presidential Candidates

Giuliani Generates the Most Enthusiasm
Where do white mainline Protestants stand with regard to the announced and potential Republican presidential candidates? A June survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press sheds light on this question at this stage of the campaign by measuring name recognition and likelihood of support at the polls. (View a complete discussion of the survey findings and more details on the survey methodology.)

Name Recognition. Among white mainline Protestants, Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters are nearly unanimous in saying they are familiar with Rudy Giuliani, and more than nine-in-ten have heard of Newt Gingrich* (94%) and John McCain (93%). Mitt Romney is known by 78% of white mainline Protestants, and Fred Thompson* is familiar to 68%.

Other Republican candidates and potential candidates are less well-known; among all Republican and Republican leaning registered voters, 51% report having heard of Tommy Thompson, 48% of Mike Huckabee, 43% of Chuck Hagel* and 40% of Sam Brownback.

Likely Support. Among mainline Protestant, Republican registered voters, Giuliani currently generates the most enthusiasm, with nearly one-in-three (30%) saying there is a “good chance” they would vote for him. An additional 46% say there is “some chance,” while only 18% say there is “no chance” Giuliani would get their vote. Fewer than one-in-five mainline Protestants say there is a “good chance” they would vote for Romney (18%), Gingrich (16%) or McCain (16%). Gingrich is viewed most negatively by this group, with 46% saying there is “no chance” they would vote for him, compared to 23% for McCain and 21% for Romney.

Despite being significantly less well-known than many of the other candidates, Fred Thompson generates as much enthusiasm among this group (27% say there is a “good chance” they would vote for him) as do Gingrich and Romney.

* Not an announced candidate as of June 4, 2007.