Poll: Evangelicals Flock to Support Romney

Thursday, 10 May 2012 10:58 AM

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With the GOP nominating process all but over, evangelical Christians are flocking to Mitt Romney, a new poll shows.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has the support of 68 percent of white evangelical voters compared to just 19 percent who favor President Barack Obama.

The PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service, found that Romney’s favorability among white evangelical Protestants increased 27 points from a previous poll in October 2011, jumping from 40 percent to 67 percent. Romney’s favorability among Republican voters also increased, going from 55 percent in October to 82 percent today.

Nonetheless, the survey, that polled 1,006 adults May 2 through May 6, found that overall, Obama leads Romney 47 percent to 38 percent and bests him among independents 42 to 37 percent.

“The survey signals that white evangelical Protestant voters are moving beyond the reservations they may have held earlier in the campaign about Romney’s Mormon faith,” said Dr. Robert Jones, PRRI CEO. “While two-thirds of white evangelical voters say that it is generally important that a presidential candidate share their religious beliefs, their differences with Romney on religion are not translating into a significant lack of support at the ballot box.”

The poll also found that knowledge of Romney’s Mormon faith has increased among white evangelical voters. It now stands at 63 percent, up from 55 percent in October 2011.

“Now that Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, evangelicals are looking ahead to the general election,” said PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox. “These findings are further evidence that both sides seem willing, if not eager, to mend fences.”

Other findings include:
  •  Despite a bruising fight with the Catholic Church over a contraceptive mandate, Obama leads with Catholic voters 46 to 39 percent but white Catholics favor Romney 54 to 34 percent.
  • White mainline Protestants favor Obama 50 to 37 percent and voters not affiliated with a religion also favor the president 57 to 22 percent.

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