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Parsing the GOP: Evangelicals

Analyzing early state exit polls, five key GOP voter groups emerge: Economy-focused voters, independents, those dissatisfied with the Bush administration, evangelicals and the "very conservative."

Evangelical Christians:

On Super Tuesday, evangelical Christians boosted Mike Huckabee in the south, where he picked up his first wins since Iowa. But in states where evangelicals constituted under half of the electorate, he hasn't even won this, his core group, lagging behind both Mitt Romney and John McCain in most cases.

More fundamentally, Huckabee has not broadened his appeal beyond evangelicals, except in his home state. In Arkansas, 41 percent of non-evangelicals supported their former governor, but elsewhere Huckabee did no better than 21 percent among these voters. By contrast, Super Tuesday exit poll results show John McCain making inroads among evangelicals.

Vote among evangelical Christians:

           Total   McCain   Romney   Huckabee
Iowa        60%      10       19        46
N.H.        23%      28       27        28
Mich.       39%      23       34        29
Nev.        24%       9       39        22
S.C.        60%      27       11        43
Fla.        39%      30       29        29
Ariz.       38%      46       30        16
Calif.      35%      33       32        26
Ga.         62%      27       28        43
Ill.        41%      38       27        28
Mass.       14%      26       53        16
Mo.         55%      24       30        41
N.J.        16%      38       28        26
N.Y.        19%      38       25        30
Tenn.       73%      29       20        42
*Total=percentage of all GOP voters who consider 
themselves a "born-again" or evangelical Christian

Vote among non-evangelicals:

           Total   McCain   Romney   Huckabee
Iowa        40%      18       33        14
N.H.        77%      38       34         6
Mich.       61%      34       39         8
Nev.        76%      15       54         3
S.C.        40%      43       20        14
Fla.        61%      38       34         4
Ariz.       62%      47       38         4
Calif.      65%      49       35         5
Ga.         38%      40       35        19
Ill.        59%      55       28         9
Mass.       86%      43       51         2
Mo.         45%      41       29        21
N.J.        84%      61       26         5
N.Y.        81%      37       27         9
Tenn.       27%      39       35        15
*Total=percentage of all GOP voters who do not consider 
themselves a "born-again" or evangelical Christian

All data from the National Election Pool exit and entrance polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  February 7, 2008; 6:56 PM ET
Categories:  Exit polls , Groups to Watch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: BTN: Mitt Romney
Next: Tale of the tape: Clinton vs. Obama


Evangelicals demonstrated in this election that issues are not important, and neither are values; rather denomination is key.

Problem is we are talking about a political campaign here, not a spiritual revival.

Evangelicals lost the big picture in this election in the battle for "good" vs "bad", yet they did give Huck a good time.

Posted by: jw | February 9, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It's scary - I recently retired here in South Carolina unaware that 60% of the voters are Bible thumpers. If they get their way, we will end up with an Evangelical Christian theocracy. The more moderate Christians such as Catholics and Methodists will be hurt, as will Jews and people of other faiths.

Posted by: Howard McFann | February 11, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

huck should stay in as long as he wants. when he leaves, he either needs a tv show, or his own megachurch. the man is he-larious.

Posted by: huckafan | February 12, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Some folks seem to think that "evangelicals" and "Bible thumpers" are all a distinct breed of dog. Notice the numbers above, they voted for each of the three major candidates, and actually more, there are others that weren't on this list if you do the math.

That thing about "issues" being unimportant was also wrong. "Issues" are everything, it is the denomination that was unimportant. The problem was, which is related to the spread of response, that each had a few aspects that were appealing, but rarely were the correct answers consistent or in the same candidate.

Finally, not all "evangelicals" are Republicans. Indeed, most I know are Democrats who frequently vote for Republican candidates. I used to be in the GOP, but sometimes voted for Democrats. But then I'm not in the GOP because John McCain is the flavor of the month and all the big GOP names are lying up a blue-streak telling how "conservative" he is. If this is the party way, then I'm not getting with it. I left the Democrats because they also left me. It is possible that this year, if you want to see the impact of "evangelicals" you don't need to look under a party label, you need to look among those who stayed home.

Posted by: L Swinford | February 12, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that evangelicals split 3 ways for each candidate but in most states non-evangelicals split their votes in half for Romney and McCain (except GA, MO, TN). That says to me that most Republicans won't vote for an avowed evangelical. Has the Republican Party finally come to it's senses? Have they realized, as The Founders of our great country knew, that God and Politics are a bad mix and leads to disaster? Anyone who takes the bible literally need to have his head examined, have read the stuff that's in there?? I hope they stay home, they've damaged America enough.

Posted by: thebob.bob | February 15, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

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