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. Kev

    I find it a little amusing that SC Republican voters thought of Newt Gingrich much the same way as they did Mike Huckabee.

    January 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  2. Kevin Hunt

    Quoting Newt Gingrich: "On September 16, 1981, Representatives Stewart McKinney and I introduced legislation designed to end bureaucratic interference in the use of marijuana as a medicant. We believe licensed physicians are competent to employ marijuana, and patients have a right to obtain marijuana legally, under medical supervision, from a regulated source". Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association March 19, 1982;247(11)

    January 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  3. herbie

    stick it where tommy?

    January 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Didja miss it the first time, you stupid git?

      January 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • herbie

      no test thread to see how long it would take a moron to find it

      January 23, 2012 at 4:19 am |
  4. GodIsTheWay

    As a Christian, and a conservative, I just can't see myself voting for Newt. I know that Jesus teaches forgiveness, and I struggle with that daily, but I just can't trust he can run the country.

    January 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  5. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    So BLUF, Newt collected the most retards in SC.

    January 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  6. Prior

    "Fear not the Ori, fear the darkness that would conceal the knowledge of the universe. Believe in the truth of all things, and you too may find the path to enlightenment."

    "Hallowed are the Ori."

    January 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  7. The Epoch of Religion is drawing to a close

    50 years ago, almost no one would publicly admit they didn't believe in god. 50 years from now, the % of Ho'mo Sapiens who need to reference 2000 texts will be far less than today. Religion is collapsing. The angry gods cannot be controlled by sacrifices or prayers. Time for humans to grow up and face reality.

    Imagine sitting across a conference table from a sentient "alien" being in 200 years. Imagine the looks on their "faces" when humans try to explain "well, ya see she ate this apple, and, well, ummmm, well......"

    January 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Kebos

      Ha! Yeah, it's a funny story, for sure. I agree mankind (and especially the USA evangelicals) need to grow up but it will take a long time, if ever. Not in our lifetime.

      January 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Kev

      Now just imagne the alien's reply saying "Hey, we have a similar story of our own". Just imagine.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • just sayin

      50 years ago the USA would not have tolerated your bs. The members of the greatest generation did not secure your freedoms, including your freedom of speech thinking you would come along and undermine the moral and Biblical foundation of America. It is your sin that will be defeated, hopefully before more harm is done to the Republic.

      January 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, nonsense. You must have a short memory and an enormous lack of knowledge of American history. There have been far bigger scandals than this, you little ole lady.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • HellBent

      The members of the greatest generation were probably well educated enough to know that this country wasn't biblically founded. They'd probably be embarrassed to know how some people treat the history of this great country.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • just sayin

      both the country AND the greatest generation had Biblical foundations

      January 23, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • rick

      just sayin': saying what you call bs IS part of our freedoms.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • just sayin

      what you consider freedoms are nothing more than chains to sin that are dragging this country down. Freedom of speech ends when you use it for lies and deception

      January 23, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • HellBent

      "just sayin
      what you consider freedoms are nothing more than chains to sin that are dragging this country down. Freedom of speech ends when you use it for lies and deception"

      Well, it isn't ending when you keep lying while stating that this country's founding was biblically based. You can attempt to rewrite history all you want in your own head ... doesn't make it true. Try reading some quotes on religion from both the author of the Declaration of Independence and the father of the Consti.tution. Or take a 6th grade history class.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • fred

      We are talking about America and the foundation of America was upon the mighty hand of God. Why try and twist that to say something other than it was? Some 80% today claim to be Christian and I bet 99% of Americans claimed to Jew or Christian 200 years ago. Just how is that not a Christian nation or at minimum a God fearing nation?
      Less than 60 years ago the stores were still closed on Sunday the Lords day.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • HellBent


      get your head out of the sand and go read something by Jefferson, Adams, or Franklin. Or at least read the treaty of Tripoli. Ignorance is no excuse.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer brings joy to the evening
    Take time to talk with God
    Prayer changes things

    January 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • true story

      I hope prayer changes your pulse from 'normal' to 'absent.'

      January 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons fear and ridicule prayer

      January 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • true story

      prayer gives demons arthritis

      January 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Christianity is not healthy for those who were burned alive for heresy

      This person posts this drivel every day, starting with an insult to those who exhibit critical thinking, then talks about how holy he is, as if insulting people, and name-calling is some new form of piety.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons hate truth and fear prayer

      January 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • demon with arthritis

      ::shakes fist:: damn you all!!

      January 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • HellBent

      If the demon with arthritis can make a fist to shake, you christians clearly aren't praying enough.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • just sayin

      Demons have no power over prayer

      January 23, 2012 at 4:25 am |
    • TR6

      You’re a hypocritical liar. You can insist on the power of prayer until your lips turn purple; but, But when you get really sick I bet you go to a doctor for medicine instead of church for prayer

      January 23, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • just sayin

      God gave mankind science and medicine. Why wouldn't a believer use what God has given. The hypocrite here is not the believer.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  9. George

    Look, either you believe that Newt repented or that he didn't. If you think he repented, then he is forgiven case closed. Bring up behavior before he repented is moot. Having said that, I don't support Newt because I don't think he is a social conservative. I support Santorum, the only all-around conservative Christian candidate.

    January 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, you "believe" Newt because he says he's repented, but you don't believe him when he says he's socially conservative?

      How do you know whether he's truthful on one hand and lying on the other?

      I wonder, Georgie, Porgie, who are you going to vote for in the general election if Santorum isn't the nominee?

      Anybody but Obama?


      January 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • George

      Yes, you got it right this time. I will vote for anyone but a Democrat or a liberal. I will vote for the one most in line with my political and religious conscience.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Santorum opposes contraception of any kind. Think that's going to do anything to lower the abortion rate, Georgie?

      You are such a load of manure. You pretend you're an arch-conservative, but I don't believe you. You are a fake. You post this kind of nonsense purely for the purpose of making conservatives look like idiots. You do a good job of it, too. Anyone reading your phony baloney would conclude that conservatives are complete morons.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Whatsamatter, Georgie? Nothing to say?

      Guess I hit a nerve.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • sam

      No one cares, George.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • George

      I will vote for the one most in line with my political and religious conscience, no matter how morally bankrupt they are.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Will the real George have the guts to stand up?

      January 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • rick

      The American public will have no stomach for such an "all around conservative" as that frothy mix formerly known as Santorum

      January 23, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • rick

      "I will vote for the one most in line with my political and religious conscience, no matter how morally bankrupt they are."

      In that case, the moral bankruptcy is on you, Georgie

      January 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • rick

      "I will vote for the one most in line with my political and religious conscience, no matter how morally bankrupt they are."

      Translation: "I am morally bankrupt"

      January 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  10. Samsword

    That's because a lot of Christians don't actually believe in morality. To many of them, Jesus is just a scape-goat; so they can do whatever they please. In this regard I can see why some people would prefer a non-theistic life— in which every person is thereby accountable for their own actions.

    (Of course some Atheists use atheism as an excuse for immoral living too, which I don't feel is right either.)

    What a person "believes" and what they "do" are completely different. Or rather what a person claims to believe and what they actually incorporate in their lives are drastically different. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people and much of the media refuse to see past the shallow layer into the more substantial characteristics of a person.

    January 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  11. k russell

    Clasic case of the good ol' boy network.
    It's okay tobe immoral, as long as you're one of 'us'.


    January 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nothing new under the sun. I'll bet the morons still think Nixon was framed.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  12. MartinT

    I grew up in SC, lived there for nearly 45 years, best thing I ever did was leave that backward state and move North! SC, along wth all of those who profess morals and religion, have proven that with the win of Newt that they are willing to suspend any set of moral beliefs at will. Here is a man who has shown time and again that his morals are firmly planted in his pants and his ego, and the gullible in SC voted to support THAT!!!!

    January 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |

    NEW http://notethicsbutbutchery.blogspot.com/ NEW http://notethicsbutbutchery.blogspot.com/ NEW http://notethicsbutbutchery.blogspot.com/ NEW http://notethicsbutbutchery.blogspot.com/



    January 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out


      January 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Zombie Squirrels Will Feast On Your Nuts!

      Yes, thank you for saving us from this terrible scourge, We're much better now. No need to save us any more.

      However, the nice people over at Fox News really need this information. Please help save them by posting as much as you can there. They will deeply appreciate your enlightening them.

      January 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel Jesus

      Mmmmmmmmm ... nuts.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  14. Truth

    S.C. Evangelicals the new Klan

    January 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out


      January 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • MartinT

      Can't say I follow that line of reasoning. The evangelicals in SC are indeed an interesting group, not sure that ALL of them can be accused of KLAN like mentality or activities. I knew some good people in SC who would be considered evangelical who are quite reasonable in their social views, OUTSIDE of their obvious religious slant. I left SC some five years ago, best decision of my life, without a doubt.

      January 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      South Carolina says they are all glad you're gone too. In fact way more are glad you're gone than were ever glad you were there.

      January 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And how would you know that, you impudent twerp? You don't speak for anyone but yourself, just lyin'.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • shut up, herbie

      herbie, shut it.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • herbie

      i wasn't shut up
      i was brought up
      and every time
      i look at you
      i throw up

      January 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      tom tom the pipers son
      stole a pig and
      lied about it
      cause lying
      is all tom is good for

      January 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww, herbie. Did the big boys beat you up and take your cookie?

      January 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • herbie

      no went postal on em

      January 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Explains why you're lying there with your limp d* ck on the pavement.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • herbie

      uh tom, you are looking at your boyfriend husband...i 'm over here

      January 22, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nah. You don't HAVE a d!ck.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • herbie

      truth be told the only one your hubby got is you

      January 23, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  15. iamdeadlyserious

    I guess this ends the raging debate over whether evangelicals are partial or complete hypocrites.

    January 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      There was a debate?

      January 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  16. Unblinking Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

    New England and 49ers will be winners today.
    Both games should be good. Just imagine Newt's head is the football if you need some motivation.

    Also, I am still waiting on the guy with the bacon turkey to post. I NEED Newt's head on that platter!!

    January 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Zombie Squirrels Will Feast On Your Nuts!

      That's awful! How dare you say that Newts head should be on a platter like that bacon turkey! That would be a TERRIBLE waste of bacon!

      January 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      I would never waste the bacon!

      January 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • NoseOwner

      Put that tongue back in your mouth. Noses are mine.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  17. Reality

    HEAR YE, HEAR YE!!!!!

    Having trouble deleting God/evangelicals from your neurons? A quick and enjoyable solution !!

    Watch Julia Sweeney's monologue "Letting Go Of God"

    Buy the DVD or watch it on Showtime. Check your cable listings.

    from http://www.amazon.com
    "Letting Go of God ~ Julia Sweeney (DVD – 2008)

    Five Star Rating

    January 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • .........

      The ONLY announcement you need regarding reality posts HIT REPORT ABUSE

      January 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Keep posting, Reality. Your comments are appreciated.

      Just because you don't agree with someone, doesn't make their posts "abuse".

      January 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • ......

      all reality bull sh it is abuse

      January 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  18. Daniel Ellsberg

    It's a honey of a pot that you've got here. Flies in its own face. Sweet!

    -Daniel Ellsberg

    January 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  19. Freethinksman

    For a long time I thought evangelicals would have a difficult time accepting The Mormon as their candidate. I really never thought it would be a total deal breaker though. I wonder if Romney has considered converting to Christianity? It would certainly work.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Mormons are strange, no argument there. But they are a sect of Christianity. They read the Bible, and they throw in some other books for good measure.

      January 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • MartinT

      I hate religion, plain and simple, I just wish the conversation would be less about what "religion" a candidate has and more on the ISSUES that will affect all of us, as the magical sky god isn't likely to do anything about our environment, income and wealth distribution, the economy, jobs, and the list goes on.

      January 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"I just wish the conversation would be less about what "religion" a candidate has ..."

      So Martin, in the website of one of the largest news services on the planet...you could not find another section that does not deal with the Faith of the candidate?

      Think about Martin, you come to the Belief Blog, the section set aside by CNN to discuss issues such as the Faith of a potential candidate.... and you are upset that in the Faith section folks are talking Faith?

      WT.Flip Wilson.

      I mean really dude?? I see your hatred but now you are wishing to censor thoughts and speech in all corners of our society. I mean, if not in the Belief Blog, where do you expect such to be discussed? Right now you sound sorta Nazi'ish in that the Jews can not even exist in the segregated ghettos...

      If you want secular discussion, why would you be in the Religious room. Even the majority of Atheist understand this place on CNN.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Ironicus

      I think Martin was talking about how it is being used as a yardstick to evaluate political candidates, not a complaint about the article being here.
      And what I remember of Flip Wilson is that he's a total dou,che-prlck who was a one-minute wonder in the entertainment industry.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Rev. Parson

      Make no mistake about it Mormons are not Christians. They as of the last few decades tried to move into "Christianity" but before that they considered Christians as their enemies. Fundamentalist Mormons are insulted if you call them Christian.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who give a flying f@ ck whether they're Christians or not?

      January 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Rev. Parson

      Apparently several of those who posted here. Why not read the comments before replying. You might look less stupid that way.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Mohamed

      Foarte tare faza: pe la 5.00 aveam de gand sa te sun pe mobil sa iti spun ceva. Sa iihcnzi mobilul sa nu iti sune in direct. Asa ca ai grija, poate se mai gaseste careva sa te sune. :PBafta la emisiune, sa-i faci praf. 🙂

      March 2, 2012 at 6:17 am |
  20. Ungodly Discipline

    One of my Top Ten favorite books of all time:
    Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
    Main Character: Donald Shimoda
    By Richard Bach (Auther of Jonathan Livingston Seagull)
    This book is a must read. Surprised no one got it.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • just sayin

      absolute bull sh it

      January 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Stick it, herbie, you scu m bag.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ironicus

      UD, thinking everyone has read some stupid book not generally known is pretty dumb.

      January 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      Ironicus, I am simply suggesting a great book. I really did think more people would be hip to Richard Bach, but I was wrong, Better late than never.

      January 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • herbie

      where should i stick it tom?

      January 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Up your fundament, herbie the gerbil.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • herbie

      Do you play with gerbils a lot tom?

      January 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. Never did. Guess that's your purview, you little pervert.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • herbie

      never heard of gerbils till you brought them up tommy tom tom

      January 23, 2012 at 4:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
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.