Eleven states held GOP presidential primaries or caucuses in January or February 2012. Mitt Romney has won more of these elections (and more delegates) than any other Republican candidate. Analysis of the role of religion in these early primaries and caucuses shows that Romney’s wins have come on the strength of his support among non-evangelical voters. While Romney’s fortunes among white born-again/evangelical voters have fluctuated from state to state, entrance and exit polls show that he has received less support from evangelicals than from non-evangelicals in every contest for which data are available.
In six of the seven states where exit or entrance polling has been conducted, the polls asked voters about their religious affiliation (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and so on). Romney won the Catholic vote by a margin of 25 or more points in three of these states and earned victories of 15 or more points among Protestants in three states. Rick Santorum, who has been Romney’s closest competitor in recent primaries and who is Catholic himself, has not won the Catholic vote in any state for which data are available.
Read the full analysis, Synopsis of Religion in the Early Republican Primaries, on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.