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Mitt Romney won the evangelical vote in N.H., improves '08 showing

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 11 2012 4:57 p.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney steps off his campaign charter plane in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, the day after winning the New Hampshire primary.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

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Mitt Romney garnered more votes from evangelical/born-again voters in the New Hampshire primary than any other Republican presidential candidate, according to analysis from Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life of exit polling conducted by the National Election Pool.

"In the exit polls, 22 percent of New Hampshire voters describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians. Of those, 31 percent voted for Romney. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were effectively tied for second place among evangelicals (at 23 and 21 percent, respectively). … Among the 78 percent of New Hampshire primary voters who are not evangelical Christians, four-in-ten voted for Romney (40 percent), while about one-in-four supported Paul (24 percent)."

Pew further reports that Romney's performance Tuesday in the Granite State represented marked improvements among both evangelical and non-evangelical demographics compared to his 2008 showing in the New Hampshire primary, when he received 27 percent of evangelical votes and 34 percent support from non-evangelicals.

Baptist Press cited a recent Pew Research Center national poll Tuesday in reporting that, among white evangelical voters, Romney and Santorum lead the GOP field at 22 percent apiece; among Catholics, Romney stands at 33 percent — well ahead of runner-up Newt Gingrich's 19 percent.

"Some Republican voters and leaders have expressed frustration with the GOP field, and the poll reflects that sentiment," Baptist Press reported. "Fifty-one percent of GOP voters rate the choices as 'excellent/good' compared to 44 percent who rate it 'fair/poor.' At this point in 2008 — when John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Romney were leading the pack — 68 percent of GOP voters rated the field as excellent or good."

EMAIL: jaskar@desnews.com

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