04/02/2007 - One of the largest religious groups in the U.S., representing about one-fifth of the electorate, white evangelicals are a strong Republican constituency. According to the 2004 exit polls, 78% of this group voted for George W. Bush while 21% supported John F. Kerry. In 2006, the exit polls showed that 72% of this group voted for Republican congressional candidates and 27% for Democratic congressional candidates.
What are the candidate preferences of white evangelical Republicans at this early stage of the 2008 presidential campaign? The Forum's analysis of the findings from a recent survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press provides an interesting early reading.
Among evangelical Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain garner roughly equivalent levels of support (27% say Giuliani is their most preferred candidate and 23% support McCain). Additionally, Giuliani and McCain are each the second choice candidate of about one-in-eight evangelicals. Nearly a quarter of Republican evangelicals (23%) do not have a first-choice candidate at this point.
All the other Republican candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, receive significantly less support from white evangelicals. Several candidates with strong ties to the evangelical community, including Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback, have very modest support among evangelicals at this stage of the campaign.
Read the full article Giuliani, McCain Lead Among Evangelical Republicans Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.