Rick Santorum won
narrow victories in both the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries on
Exit polling shows there was no clear winner among white
born-again/evangelical voters in either state, with Santorum and Newt Gingrich
receiving roughly equivalent levels of support from evangelicals in both
received less support from evangelicals than from non-evangelical voters in
Alabama, continuing the pattern observed in previous primaries. But Romney did
about as well among evangelicals as among non-evangelicals in Mississippi. In both states, Romney failed to secure convincing victories among non-evangelical voters, who have tended to favor him over the other candidates in the primary season thus far.2
was the preferred choice of voters in Alabama who say it matters a great deal
to them that a candidate shares their religious beliefs. There was no clear
winner among this group in Mississippi.
Voting by Born-Again
and Gingrich finished in a virtual tie for first place among evangelical voters
in both Alabama (where evangelicals comprised 75% of the electorate) and
Mississippi (where evangelicals accounted for 80% of all GOP primary voters).
Santorum received 35% of the evangelical vote in both states, and Gingrich
received 32% support from evangelicals in both states. Romney was supported by
27% of evangelicals in Alabama and by 29% of evangelicals in Mississippi.
Alabama, Romney and Santorum ran about even among non-evangelical voters (34%
supported Romney, 31% voted for Santorum); Gingrich trailed both these candidates
with 21% support among non-evangelicals in Alabama. In Mississippi,
non-evangelicals were divided between Romney (33%), Santorum and Gingrich (27%
Voting by Importance of
was the clear favorite of Alabama voters who said it matters “a great deal” or
“somewhat” to have a candidate who shares their religious beliefs. He received the
votes of 41% of this group in Alabama, while Gingrich received 31% support and
Romney garnered 23% support. In Mississippi, voters who said it is at least
somewhat important that a candidate shares their religious beliefs were divided
about evenly between Santorum (35%), Gingrich (31%) and Romney (30%).
Alabama voters who said it does not matter much whether a candidate shares
their religious beliefs, 36% voted for Romney while 25% supported Santorum and
22% backed Gingrich. In Mississippi, 33% of this group voted for Romney while
29% backed Gingrich and 19% voted for Santorum.
This analysis is based on results from exit polls conducted as voters
left the polls during the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primary elections.
The polls were conducted by Edison Media Research for the National Election
Pool. Full results and additional details from the Alabama exit poll can be
accessed at http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/primaries/epolls/al. Full results and additional details from the Mississippi exit poll can
be accessed at http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/primaries/epolls/ms.
This analysis is based on exit poll data that were available as of
10:00 a.m. on March 14. Exit poll data are sometimes reweighted, so some
figures may be different from those available on CNN.com.
1 No exit polling was conducted in Hawaii or American Samoa, where Romney won
caucuses held on Tuesday, March 13. (return to text)
2 For analysis of religion in previous GOP caucuses and primaries, see “Synopsis
of Religion in the Early Republican Primaries” and “Religion
in the Super Tuesday Primaries.” (return to text)
Alabama: © William A. Bake/CORBIS
Miss: © Kevin Burke/Corbis