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January 21st, 2012
09:53 PM ET

Passing significant test, Gingrich wins more S.C. evangelicals than rivals

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com

(CNN) - If there were any doubts that Newt Gingrich, a thrice-married convert to Catholicism, could connect with the evangelical voters who make up the Republican Party base, Saturday’s South Carolina primary put them to rest, with the former House Speaker winning twice as many evangelical votes as anyone else in the race.

Evangelical Christians made up two-thirds of the South Carolina electorate on Saturday, and Gingrich took 44% of their votes, according to CNN’s exit poll.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, who rode evangelical support to victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses earlier this month, each got 21% of the evangelical vote in South Carolina.

Gingrich got roughly the same share of the South Carolina evangelical vote as Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, did four years ago.

The former House speaker campaigned vigorously among evangelicals in the Palmetto State, talking about “values” issues and speaking to and holding conference calls with hundreds of evangelical pastors.

“Whatever his personal values may be, he certainly talked effectively and cogently to the kinds of issues that evangelicals care about,” said John Green, an expert in religion and politics at the University of Akron.

“Gingrich had a very intensive campaign mentioning social issues, less as policy matter than as test of the broader ideology of candidates,” Green said.

An accusation last week from Gingrich’s second wife that he asked for an “open marriage” raised questions about how much so-called “values voters” would support him.

“To a degree, it will give [evangelical voters] pause, but there’s a much more insatiable appetite to defeat President Obama,” said David Brody, chief political correspondent at CBN News at the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“Gingrich has never claimed to be a patron saint,” Brody said. “People have known for years about Gingrich’s marriage issues. In a way, his well-known history of troubled marriage works for him here.”

Last weekend, a group of conservative Christian leaders – evangelicals, mostly – reached consensus around supporting Santorum, but many experts said the development came to late to seriously influence the race.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Politics

soundoff (671 Responses)
  1. Jt_flyer

    When we feel we know better than our founding fathers lets take a moment and find guidance in their words. we will never let your witchcraft rule our great country Here are a few Thomas Jefferson quotes:

    1.  History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.  This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.  Thomas Jefferson

    2. "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man"- Thomas
    Jefferson

    3. "The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs." -Thomas Jefferson

    4. "It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet the one is not three, and the three are not one- Thomas Jefferson

    5. "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be clas.sed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."- Thomas Jefferson

    6. "There is not one redeeming feature in our supersti.tion of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites."- Thomas Jefferson

    January 22, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    The joy of prayer in the morning
    Is awakening to the presence of God
    And beginning the day
    In the full council of God
    Enjoy the Word of God in the morning
    Prayer changes things

    January 22, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Mirosal

      no it doesn't, and cannot

      January 22, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • Jt_flyer

      Let's go with that. It sounds so nice. Almost a narcotic one might say.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • Kris

      Which gad are you talking about that's so good? The god who told followers to kill millions of people during the inquisition and other periods of man's history ? Hmmm...interesting point you make.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • Mirosal

      @Jt .. well, Karl Marx did say it was the opiate of the masses, didn't he?

      January 22, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons deathly afraid of prayer

      January 22, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • Mirosal

      Who is a demon, and who is afraid of prayer?

      January 22, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Hoovervilles

      If prayer changes things then pray for some very worthwhile causes.

      1. Pray to restore amputees limbs,
      2. Pray to end poverty,
      3. Pray to end worldwide abuse of women,
      4. Pray to end child abuse,
      5. Many other very worthwhile causes.

      Let me know when you verifiable statistical results.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • 80shiling

      Prayer most CERTAINLY does NOT work; I have prayed every day for your moronic posts about prayer to stop, but here you still are with you mindless, inane drivel !

      January 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • just sayin

      prater in conflict with Gods grace are not answered. you cannot use God to endorse your evil intent

      January 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • just sayin

      prayer in conflict with Gods grace are not answered. you cannot use God to endorse your evil intent

      January 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Well, me, I wished upon a star that @Atheism is not... would continue to post her drivel, so that we can continue to counter it. New folks come on here all the time and can see for themselves right off what's up.

      Lo, and Behold, my wishes keep coming true 🙂

      January 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  3. migeli

    Once upon a time when a president was elected both parties worked to solve this countries problems.Now we have a bunch of morans who decided their only goal was to get rid of this president.That is from day one so don't buy their lies.S ick of Republican lies!

    January 22, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  4. Mirosal

    ok I just noticed "Atheism is not healthy" posting her(?)crap again ... Prayer doesn't and cannot work, and that is by your OWN beliefs and doctrines.

    January 22, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      a demon tormented and deathly afraid of prayer

      January 22, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Bringoutyourdead ... to whom are you referring?

      January 22, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      A demon tormented and deathly afraid of prayer.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:26 am |
  5. pototoy

    Bigotry and hypocrisy are the clear winner. And S. Carolina will forever be smeared.

    January 22, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  6. Ed

    Are we looking for leaders that only talk the good values? Are we republicans a bunch on hypocrites? Do we praise the serial adulterer as our champion of “Family Values”? Aren’t Christians suppose to be ye doers of the word, and not hearers (or speakers) only? Who has been the 43 year doer of “Family Values” and who has committed adultery twice (that we know of)? Give me a president that lives his values, not just talks them.

    January 22, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • Mi Poo

      Why? Republicans say they want a President who acts like a CEO – ruthless with the budget, hard of heart. The whole "family values" thing is just a smoke screen and a way to discriminate against Gays. They are "pro-life" until a child is born, at which time the infant becomes unimportant. It's a party of contradictions.and duplicity. Terrified on their own shadow, looking for a "daddy" to keep them safe. Just a bunch of angry, old white men. I think that about sums it up.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  7. just sayin

    The worst candidate of the worst party. Poor leadership is the curse of God on a nation. Would say the same for Santorum.

    January 22, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      Tell you what ... if this 'god' of yours is so upset as to levy a curse upon us, then 'god' is the most petty, vidictive, arrogant s.ob. ever. Take your ballot, write-in 'god' on it. See if 'it' wins, and then do it in the general election come November. Then all will see who or what takes the oath of office on Jan 20, 2013.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • just sayin

      When a nation turns to sin it is a self fulfilling prophecy that poor leadership will result. God will not provide good leadership to a nation of sin and mockers. God will leave that nation to what it deserves. Cause and effect.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Mirosal

      How can you claim cause and effect when the 'cause' has NEVER, in human history, been verified?

      January 22, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • No Monkeys No Atheists

      Should God wins on a ballot and takes oath in office, atheists would definitely screams, FAKE!!!!

      Nothing could convince a stubborn and insolent creatures like atheists.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • No Monkeys No Atheists

      *scream

      January 22, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • just sayin

      Review all nations from recorded history, loss of moral direction, loss of leadership, loss of nation. Decline and fall of the Roman Empire etc. etc. Your ignorance is surpassed only by your disbelief or is it that your disbelief is your ignorance?

      January 22, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      a demon afraid and tormented by history

      January 22, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ just sayin ... ok, list for me the stable, non-corrupt theocratic governments on the planet today, or in history.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • just sayin

      The strength of a nation is in the believing peoples, not in the nation itself. A nations identification with God is its peoples identification with God. God has seen fit to allow the USA to be founded on and live according to Biblical directives, from it's founding until just recently.It is the peoples turning from God that is the problem. A mere 50 years ago your bs would not have been tolerated.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Ted Hagaard

      @No Monkeys No Atheists
      *win, *take

      January 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  8. Paul

    Just proves that GOP claims to be the "family values" party are lies...

    January 22, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  9. Jack

    This just confirms that the GOP is full of fake christians.

    January 22, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  10. BD70

    Well....Gingrich is living up to his telling them what they want to hear. Too bad they are swallowing it. Everyone may have known about his marriages for years but that doesn't mean all of us accept his behavior as presidential material. Don't judge him? Of course not...but his past is factored in when it comes to analyzing his character traits.

    January 22, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  11. Paul Wlliamson

    I always knew South Carolinians were a bunch of ignorant, prejudiced red-necked hypocrites (remember who started the Civil War), and their vote for the Grinch proves it...perhaps we should not have allowed them back into the Union..

    January 22, 2012 at 5:13 am |
  12. Larry in Houston

    Callista looks like she needs an interview with Hugh Hefner – I'm sure she could get an actual Job – immediately ! I'm positive he would hire her !

    January 22, 2012 at 5:08 am |
  13. lilbluepill

    ...so am i right to say that these evangelicals are pushing for a christian-sharia here? no matter what substance that their candidate is? i can just imagine if any other religion do what they are doing, they would be up in arms...

    January 22, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      They might be able to push for it, but good luck getting it through the House and Senate. The President does NOT make the laws, and then there's that little club called the Supreme Court. I think they might have something to say about ANY laws that have a religious base. I guess the rednecks in South Ca-ka-lackee don't know how gov't works.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  14. aintiasaint

    evangelicals will compromise their christian values by electing a lying, white, philandering time bomb as long as it gets the black secret muslim from kenya out of office for a second term. obama sucks btw, dont change the fact about evangelicals

    January 22, 2012 at 4:53 am |
  15. evangelicalsareracistandimwhiteandadumbpolacktooboot

    evangelicals will compromise their christian values by electing a lying, white, philandering time bomb as long as it gets the black secret muslim from kenya out of office for a second term. obama sucks btw, dont change the fact about evangelicals

    January 22, 2012 at 4:51 am |
  16. Franny

    It appears that the true Evangelicals are a bunch of hypocrites, but this is not surprising. I just wish many folks could see through this bunch of so called "Christians".

    January 22, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  17. MikeDeAng

    Newt! Newt! He's our man, if he can't do it.....oh, never mind.....

    January 22, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  18. Brad76

    They're going straight to hell.

    January 22, 2012 at 4:36 am |
  19. PAUL

    BOOBIES!!!! BOOBIES!!!! BOOBIES!!!!! BUT NO BLACK LADY ONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2012 at 4:30 am |
  20. JJ

    so the "family values" crowd is ok with a serial adulterer only if that person is White Straight and a Republican amazing..

    January 22, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • Mark

      And a protestant. The idea that 21% of evangelicals voted for a Mormon is startling. Romney should be praised for that feat.

      January 22, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • bob

      JJ maybe people are starting to figure out humans don't judge. its up to a god of there understanding when you die we all find out wheather he is real or not. rember when your pointing your finger at another human being there are 3 pointing back at you

      January 22, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • lilbluepill

      BINGO! you hit the nail right on the head...these folks sure will be running into a problem soon when they start becoming the "minority" in this nation. they will soon realize that their tactics of "majority" rules will be backfiring on them soon...

      January 22, 2012 at 5:00 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.