survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that
Newt Gingrich currently holds a 35% to 21% lead over Mitt Romney among
Republican and Republican-leaning voters who say they are very likely to vote
in the GOP primaries or caucuses. Gingrich leads Romney by an even larger
25-point margin among white evangelical GOP voters who say they are very likely
to vote in the primaries (35% to 10%). Among white mainline Protestants likely
to vote in the upcoming primaries and caucuses, 40% express support for
Gingrich, compared with 23% who support Romney.
new survey, conducted Dec. 7-11, also shows that clear majorities of likely GOP
primary voters say there is at least a chance they would vote for either
Gingrich or Romney in Republican primaries in their state. None of the other
GOP candidates draw nearly as much potential support.
white evangelicals likely to participate in the primaries and caucuses,
two-thirds (67%) say either that they support Gingrich (35%) or that there is at
least a chance they would vote for him if their preferred candidate were not in
the race (32%). About half of white evangelicals (51%) say they support Romney
(10%) or that there is a chance they would vote for him (41%). With a sample
size of 147 white evangelicals who say they are very likely to vote in the
upcoming primaries, the difference between the 67% who say there is a chance
they would vote for Gingrich and the 51% who say there is a chance they would
vote for Romney does not reach the level of statistical significance.
white mainline Protestants, seven-in-ten say they either support Gingrich (40%)
or that they would consider voting for him (30%). Roughly the same percentage
say they are open to voting for Romney; 23% currently support him, 40% prefer
another candidate but say there is a chance they would vote for Romney. (The
survey included too few interviews with members of other religious groups who
are also Republican and Republican-leaning likely primary voters to permit
analysis of their preferences.)
impact of recent developments in the campaign, including Herman Cain’s
suspension of his candidacy, can be seen by comparing the nomination
preferences of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters interviewed
in December with those interviewed in
mid-November. (The mid-November poll did not have a question identifying
likely primary voters.) Support for Gingrich has doubled over the past month
among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, from 16% in
mid-November to 33% in the current survey. Gingrich is the only candidate who
has seen his support rise significantly over the past month.
evangelical Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters now support
Gingrich over Romney by a three-to-one margin (32% to 11%), with Romney
generating about as much support as Ron Paul (10%) and Michele Bachmann (8%).
This is in stark contrast with mid-November -- while Cain was still in the race
-- when evangelicals supported Gingrich and Romney in roughly equal numbers
(19% and 17%, respectively).
white mainline Protestant Republican registered voters, 42% say Gingrich is
their preferred candidate, compared with 20% who support Romney. In
mid-November, Romney lead the other candidates among this group.
For a complete discussion of the survey’s findings, see “Gingrich Leads, But Likely GOP Primary Voters Have Not Ruled Out
Romney: Tepid Support for Both Leading Candidates.”
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