How Did Religion Play Out in Super Tuesday?
While Mitt Romney took 10 of the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, new analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows him continuing to struggle among the GOP’s white born-again/evangelical voters.
Romney did win the evangelical vote in two of the seven states where exit polling was conducted: Massachusetts (where he served as governor); and Virginia (where neither Santorum nor Gingrich were on the ballot). In four states, Romney received significantly less support from evangelicals than from non-evangelical voters — continuing the pattern seen in previous caucuses and primaries.
According to exit polls in four of the Super Tuesday states that asked voters about their religious affiliation (Protestant, Catholic, etc.), Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich each won the Protestant vote in one state, while Protestants were evenly divided between Romney and Santorum in the fourth (Ohio). Catholics preferred Romney in two states (Massachusetts and Ohio), and were evenly divided in Georgia (between Romney and Gingrich) and Tennessee (between Romney and Santorum). Santorum, who has been Romney’s closest competitor in recent primaries and who is Catholic himself, has yet to achieve an outright victory among Catholics in any state for which data are available.
Exit polls also show that Romney continues to get less support from voters who say it is important to them to have a candidate who shares their religious beliefs than from voters for whom this is not important. Virginia is the only Super Tuesday state for which data are available in which Romney was the clear favorite of voters who say it matters “a great deal” or “somewhat” that a candidate shares their religious beliefs.
Santorum took three Super Tuesday states, and Gingrich won one.
To read full results of the Pew survey, click HERE.