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Welcome back to foxnews.com -- potentially at Heidi we're gonna wrap it up today with talk about religious divide among the GOP voters.
Joining me right now is Greg Smith he is a senior researcher.
At the Pew Research Center good to see Greg.
Good morning good to be with the -- about those sort of awkward phone hold thing but but could just bear with me for a second.
Absolutely right to personalize what -- start up so just backing up a bit.
-- little glasses here Mitt Romney won six of the ten GOP caucuses and primaries on Super Tuesday.
Rick Santorum won three states Gingrich one -- continues to struggle among the GOP's white born again evangelical voters he did when.
He the vote in the evangelical vote -- two of the seven states were exit -- was conducted that was Massachusetts you know where he was the governor of Virginia.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Robbie receive significantly less support from evangelicals -- from non evangelical voters so what does all this.
Need to you what does it bring us to at this point.
Well I think the consistent pattern that -- we're really begun to see in these primaries and caucuses not just on Super Tuesday but even before that is that Romney's.
Performance among evangelicals within the GOP has really fluctuated.
He he has.
Hasn't done poorly everywhere he has won the evangelical vote in several states including two states as you mentioned on Super Tuesday but the pattern that we're seeing -- that he consistently.
Guest -- support from evangelical voters.
He does from non evangelical voters in fact.
In eleven of the fourteen states from which we have data out -- has underperformed.
As compared with non evangelical voters.
One of the things I think is interesting is that if we actually take that and flip it and look at it from the other direction another way of looking at it.
Is that Romney is actually really dominated among non evangelicals and the GOP in fact he has finished either in first place -- tied for first place.
Not need to jump.
In every state.
Let's specifically focused now on Tennessee -- -- having.
In the southern votes the southern primaries tomorrow -- support for instance but let's focus on the Tennessee voter religious background thinking here -- how.
On next how everybody did so we've got Protestants.
Overwhelming why would they overwhelmingly the Protestants -- -- -- 42%.
Romney came in second at 26%.
Gingrich 23% and Ron Paul 8% -- Catholic voters.
Once again Santorum 36% so close with Romney who is 35%.
Followed by Gingrich city -- and Ron Paul at night.
It's surprising here at all.
I think it is is -- the Catholic vote in Tennessee Santorum did.
Pretty well among Catholics finishing.
Basically tied with Romney for first place among Catholics that's that's a better showing for Santorum among Catholics than we've seen in most states in fact.
-- the states from which we have they have -- -- you know it really is the one who seems to consistently be the choices of Catholic voters.
-- Rockies won the Catholic vote in about half the states for which we have data and he finished tied for first.
In the other states so I I think I do think what you're seeing there -- some.
Is the strength of the alternatives to Romney in the south and that's reflected in the captain's vote.
But if we step back and look at it mostly through the prism of religion.
And think about Catholic voters in particular they've tended to favor Romney so far.
Let's move over to Ohio and talking about you know -- candidates religious beliefs how much they matter.
According to a well that -- voters say religious beliefs matter a great deal twenties -- say so.
For Gingrich Santorum 53%.
And Ron Paul 7% so once again I don't think that's much of a surprise there.
Well you know we we we knew heading into the primary season that Romney's religion in particular is Mormon faith.
Had the potential to be an issue in the nomination campaign -- data.
Have shown that that there are people particularly within the Republican Party particularly among evangelicals.
Who might be reluctant to to support a Mormon candidate -- who have some concerns and reservations about Mormon -- -- And you can see that reflected in some of these states where -- -- the exit polls have asked the question how important is that to you to have a candidate who shares your religious beliefs.
In much the same way that he struggled among evangelicals Romney has tended to struggle among people who -- a lot of importance.
On having the candidate who shares their religious beliefs at least compared with those who don't -- so much importance to that.
So give -- engineered a little crystal ball reading for tomorrow in primaries down south what do you think's gonna happen there as far as let's type in as far as the religious aspect goes.
Well I certainly don't have a crystal ball I can't make any predictions of NASA engineers are aware -- So not not not not I can't I can't make predictions about what might happen but I'll certainly be keeping an eye on those evangelical voters how how do they vote.
Does Romney continued to struggle among that.
That important segment of the elect murder or -- fortunes improve that's something they'll be keeping an eye on not just tomorrow but.
In the weeks and months ahead.
All right well we'll check back we -- Greg Smith senior researcher Pew Research Center thanks for joining us and we appreciate it thank you had a.
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