June 4, 2007

White Evangelical Protestants and Republican Presidential Candidates

Giuliani Generates the Most Enthusiasm
Where do white evangelical 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 evangelicals, 93% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters claim to have heard of Sen. John McCain. Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich* follow closely behind at 89% each. Mitt Romney is known by 68% of white evangelicals, and Fred Thompson* is familiar to 52%.

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 evangelical, Republican registered voters, Giuliani currently generates the most enthusiasm (albeit somewhat less than among Republican registered voters overall), with nearly one-in-three (32%) saying there is a “good chance” they would vote for him and an additional 35% saying there is “some chance.” Only 18% say there is “no chance” Giuliani would get their vote. In contrast, about one-sixth of evangelical Republicans (16%) say there is a “good chance” they would vote for McCain, and an additional 40% say there is “some chance” they would vote for him; 26% say there is “no chance” they would vote for McCain.

Nearly half of evangelicals say there is a chance they would vote for Gingrich (19% “good chance,” 27% “some chance”), but one-in-three say there is “no chance” they would vote for him. Roughly one-in-three evangelical Republicans are potential Romney supporters (14% “good chance,” 23% “some chance”), while 24% say there is “no chance” Romney would get their vote.

Despite being significantly less well-known than many of the other candidates, Fred Thompson generates as much enthusiasm among evangelical Republicans as do McCain, Gingrich or Romney (20% say there is a “good chance” they would vote for Thompson, while just 7% say there is “no chance” they would vote for him).

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