Survey: Most religious voters in line with national polling averages
January 4th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Survey: Most religious voters in line with national polling averages

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – Even though former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, one of two Catholics in the race for the GOP nomination, was helped by an evangelical bump in Iowa on Wednesday, his support among Catholic Republicans is near the bottom of the field, according to a new Gallup survey.

Santorum, who according to the survey gets the support of 3% of all registered Republicans, only gets 4% support - a 1% bump - among his Catholic GOP brethren.

Those numbers are in stark contrast to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is supported by 23% of all Republicans in the poll, but receives the support of 71% of Mormon Republicans.

Romney’s numbers are “the clearest cut pattern” in the survey, wrote Gallup’s Frank Newport.

“Given that Mormons constitute about 2% of American adults and 4% of Republicans nationally, the more important factor may be any possible effect that Romney's faith has on the vote of highly religious non-Mormons, a much larger voting bloc,” Newport wrote.

According to the survey, highly religious Protestants, who are a close match for the widely discussed evangelical vote, are less likely to support Romney than the national average of all registered Republican voters.

Eighteen percent of Protestants who attend church weekly support Romney, a number that compares to the average 23% that Romney garnered in the Gallup poll.

Other than highly religious Protestants, however, Catholic and Protestant Republicans are in line with all Republican and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote.

Two major Republican presidential hopefuls, Rep. Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, are Protestant, while two candidates are Catholic: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Santorum.

Gallup released the poll before Santorum’s remarkably close second-place finish in Iowa but did speculate about what a strong Santorum finish would mean for these numbers.

“If Santorum does well in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, it will be important to monitor if some of the explanation for his success lies with an increase in support from his fellow Catholics,” Newport wrote.

Moving from the pious to the unaffiliated, Rep. Ron Paul achieves disproportionate support.

According to the poll, 19% of Republicans who do not have a formal religious identity support Paul and his libertarian platform. This comes while 10% of all Republicans identified as Paul supporters, according to the Gallup poll.

“Republicans with no religious identity give Ron Paul almost twice the level of support that he gets nationally,” wrote Newport. “This reflects at least in part the youthful skew in Paul's support and the tendency for young Americans to have no formal religious identity.”

The Gallup survey was conducted over the phone from December 1 to December 25 with a random sample of 11,405 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. The maximum margin of error is plus or minus 1%.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Jon Huntsman • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul • United States

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Iqbal Khan

    Santorum: Iranians' 'Principle Virtue' To Die For God
    'Is An Encouragement For Them To Use' Nukes

    By Eli Clifton

    Santorum's Iran policy appears to be framed, in no small part, by his extremist views on Islam and a belief that the Islamic Republic's leadership is inherently irrational and suicidal.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  2. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Newton Leroy Gingrich, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)
    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    January 6, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for gods and other nonexistent things

    Prayer changes nothing.
    Prayer has wasted time throughout the course of history
    Prayer defines idiots.
    Prayer gives you lots of practice on your knees.
    To the master the bible says you can have many slaves.
    Prayer opens the bowels like high fiber Raisin Bran.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  4. RightTurnClyde

    This blog ought to be changed from "Belief" blog to "Election" blog since 90% of its stories are about re-election beginning with Iowa and gong on to the primaries. It is really not about belief merely because most office seekers have faith in God and belong to one church or another.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  5. JesusLives

    Vote for a follower of the Biblical Jesus Christ or this nation is doomed. Only Jehovah God can turn this nation around and only a President in God's army can lead us to God's will. A vote for any other doctrine or religion is a vote for Satan to take control.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule


      Jawohl. Gott mit uns!

      January 5, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      If only God can turn the country around, why do we need a president?

      January 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Name any recent President who wasn't "a follower of the Biblical Jesus Christ"... the track record speaks for itself... if they follow all this fairy-tale nonsense it really does cast doubt on their intelligence...

      January 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      So in other words agree with me and follow blindly or you will go to hell? Gee i've never heard that before...oh wait.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 5, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      What does prayer change. Talk to me.

      January 5, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • Nora

      Google the phrase "why won't God heal amputees?".

      January 5, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Prayer can change the perspective of the person praying.
      That's about it ...

      January 5, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • AndyB

      Atheism is what all of your children have before you tell them stories. Prayer is logically incapable of changing anything.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • ergonostic

      If you believe that god answers prayers, would you explain why you haven't prayed for the end of all evil, for all time, starting right now?

      January 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  7. Groucho Marx

    "I've been a liberal Democrat all my life", and "I frankly find Democrats a better, more sympathetic crowd.... I'll continue to believe that Democrats have a greater regard for the common man than Republicans do".

    January 5, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  8. WOT

    If the USA, use the money to feed the poor, that would be religious! Why would a rich man want to be president anyway! Power is more cherished than religion. So stop talking about these hypocrites, who are not fearful of the wraft of GOD!

    January 5, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • GodPot

      No one who wants to be President bad enough to wade through the cesspool that is our American political system should be allowed to be President because even if they started the journey clean as the driven snow they end up on the podium covered in Santorum...

      January 5, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  9. BoldGeorge

    Christians shouldn't support politicians that support persons, groups, agendas or movements that promotes a sinful lifestyle, because sinful lifestyles lead to the breakdown of society (crime, violence, fraudulence, breakdown of family-values, human and drug trafficking, etc.).

    If we all followed God's Holy standards for living, which were given to us in the form of the Ten Commandments, we wouldn't be having all this chaos in the world. It is a shame that different groups of people want to have representation no matter how their agendas or movements are on society. Since we cannot adhere to and live by Godly standards, this is when we need guidance, this when we need a Savior and Redeemer who can rescue us from our own sins and imminent eternal demise. We have immensely offended God by living in sin and unbelief (especially unbelief). We need to acknowledge all this and turn to His Son, Jesus Christ for redemption. This is the only way the bible tells us we will be able to enter the Kingdom of God. True religion is relying on Christ's death and resurrection for our salvation. False religion will always promote self-effort or self-worthiness. Let's face it, when has self-effort made the world a better place?

    January 5, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • The Further Adventures Of Kinda-Goodman and Ataboy!

      I like how, right after the Ten Commandments, God goes on to instruct us in the correct protocol for selling your daughter into slavery.

      I also like the way God made it so "we cannot adhere to and live by Godly standards," and then punishes us for not living up to the standards that he made us unable to live up to.

      Makes perfect sense in Christian wobbly world

      January 5, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      No thank you, George. I have no interest in the destruction of the United States just because you miss the good old christian days, when people could be enslaved because of the color of their skin, when women were nothing more than property, when you could burn people alive for heresy, or destroy entire cultures because they didn't worship Christ.

      I'll keep my freedom, thank you, since it's guaranteed by the Consti.tution, which is a docu,ment of far greater wisdom than the bible.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • The big fat referee

      There are 628 commandments. You obviously have never read the bible.

      January 5, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • GodPot

      And just an FYI, other than the religious traditional laws of the Sabbath and Idolatry worship all the moral laws found in the 10 were found much earlier in the code of Hammurabi, so it appears your God is a bit of a plagiarist.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      Article VI, Section 3 of the Consti tution says we cannot apply any religious test for any office.

      Additionally, your 1st commandment says I can have no other gods, but yours. Under penalty of death and eternal torture. On the other hand, my 1st amendment says that I can worship your god, some other god, or no gods.

      Guess what? We are not a theocracy. My first trumps your first. I win. Every day. Every time.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  10. A non-American.

    America's Taliban is just as scary as Afghanistan's.

    January 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm |


    January 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I can't understand a word you're saying. Maybe if you turned the caps lock off and the spell check on things would be clearer.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How does one become "sivilized"?

      What a dink.

      January 5, 2012 at 6:29 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.