January 4, 2012

Religion and the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucuses

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Polling conducted as voters entered the 2012 Iowa caucuses shows a clear split between born-again evangelical Christians, who favored Rick Santorum, and other voters, who favored Mitt Romney.

Among the 57% of Iowa caucus-goers who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, Santorum finished in first place with 32% support. Ron Paul garnered 18% of the evangelical vote, while Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each received 14% of the evangelical vote.

Among the 43% of Iowa caucus-goers who are not evangelical Christians, Romney was the winner, attracting 38% support. One-quarter of non-evangelical caucus-goers voted for Paul (26%). Santorum garnered 14% support among non-evangelical voters, similar to the 12% who supported Gingrich.

Results of 2012 Iowa Republican Caucuses

By comparison, 2008 entrance polling showed Mike Huckabee to be the clear favorite of evangelical Iowa caucus-goers; he received 46% of evangelicals’ support, compared with 19% for Romney and 10% for John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee. Among non-evangelical caucus voters, 33% supported Romney, while 18% backed McCain, 17% supported Fred Thompson and 14% voted for Huckabee.

Results of 2008 Iowa Republican Caucuses

This analysis is based on results from entrance polls conducted as voters entered the Iowa caucuses. The polls were conducted by Edison Media Research for the National Election Pool. Full results and additional details from the 2012 entrance poll can be accessed at http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/primaries/epolls/ia. Full results and additional details from the 2008 entrance poll can be accessed at http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/epolls/#IAREP.

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