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Mormons, Party Regulars Fuel Romney Success

Updated: 5:38By Jon Cohen
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appeared to score his third win by taking the Nevada GOP caucuses, and entrance poll results from MSNBC provide the tale of the tape.

A quarter of GOP caucusgoers were Mormon, according to the network's poll, and they broke overwhelmingly for Romney, himself a Mormon. Ninety-four percent of Mormons supported Romney, who also outpaced his rivals among Protestants and Catholics, but by smaller margins.

Romney more than tripled up Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) among white caucusgoers, while Latinos (9 percent of the electorate) preferred Romney by a more narrow margin over Arizona Sen. John McCain (41 percent to 25 percent).

And as in Michigan last Tuesday, Romney won big among party regulars and staunch conservatives in Nevada. Republicans made up 86 percent of caucusgoers, and 58 percent of them supported Romney and 12 percent McCain. Among "very conservative" voters (40 percent of the electorate), Romney won by more than 5 to 1.

About a quarter of voters were evangelical Christians, and 38 percent in this group went for Romney, 22 percent for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and 18 percent for Paul.

Top issues in the race: economy 37 percent, illegal immigration 34 percent, terrorism 13 percent and Iraq 9 percent. Romney won among each group.

Romney was alone among the top tier GOP contenders to run an active campaign in Nevada. South Carolina's primary is also today and drew most of the candidates' attention. Those polls close at 7 p.m. eastern.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 19, 2008; 2:03 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Mitt Romney , Primaries , The GOP , The Pollster  
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