Evangelical vote remains divided even as Republican field narrows
Its latest national survey, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2 among 1,502 adults, found that Arizona Sen. John McCain now holds a substantial lead among all segments of the Republican electorate — with the notable exception of white evangelical Protestants.
McCain and Huckabee’s support among the voters in this key Republican base was divided evenly at 34 percent a piece.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose Mormon faith is viewed by many evangelicals as a heretical cult, had 17 percent of the support among these voters.
But both McCain and Romney has seven-point gains from the previous month with this group of voters as other candidates dropped out while Huckabee’s support remained stagnant at 34 percent.
This suggests that if Huckabee’s campaign fades, evangelicals are already starting to look to either McCain or Romney to be their political saviours.
Huckabee is an ordained Baptist preacher who has connected well with this conservative constituency, which is stridently opposed to abortion rights and gay marriage and has become one of the Republican Party’s most reliable bastions of support.
The Pew survey has a margin of error of plus/minus three percentage points.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith (Huckabee at debate in California.)