April 25th, 2012
01:33 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Religion is playing a key role in determining which presidential candidate Americans support, with President Barack Obama enjoying a wide lead over Mitt Romney among moderately and less religious voters and Romney dominating among very religious voters, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday.
The survey’s findings include bits of good news for both Obama and Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for the White House, though Gallup says Obama leads Romney by a 7-point margin among all voters.
Catholics, a key swing constituency who have voted with the winner in recent presidential elections, prefer Obama over Romney by a 6-point margin, Gallup found.
Highly religious white Protestants, who strongly supported Rick Santorum during the presidential primary, are now coalescing around Romney, according to Gallup.
Romney leads Obama by 41 points among very religious white Protestants – which Gallup calls the “functional equivalent” of evangelical voters – and by 24 points among all white Protestants.
There are stark differences in the preferences of voters based on how religious they are, regardless of their specific faith tradition.
Very religious voters, who say religion is a key part of daily life and who attend a house of worship almost every week or more often, account for 41% of voters and back Romney over Obama by 54% to 37%, Gallup found.
Nonreligious voters, who make up about a third of the electorate, support Obama over Romney by 61% to 30%.
The moderately religious, meanwhile, who constitute 27% of registered voters, break for Obama over Romney, 54% to 40%.
The survey drew on telephone interviews with 2,157 randomly selected voters across the United States, conducted from April 19 to 23.
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