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Santorum And Gingrich Split Evangelical Vote In Southern Primaries

3/20/2012 3:58 PM ET

Evangelical voters in the recent southern Republican primaries were split evenly between Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, a new exit poll says.

Santorum and Gingrich received about the same levels of support from evangelical voters in both the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, according to the Pew Research Center.

Evangelicals comprised about 75 percent of the electorate vote in Alabama and 80 percent of the vote in Mississippi. Among evangelical voters in both states, Santorum got 35 percent of support, and Gingrich got 32 percent.

Despite the split within the key group, Santorum would go to win the primaries in both states.

Mitt Romney was backed by 27 percent of evangelicals in Alabama and 29 percent in Mississippi. Romney received less support from evangelicals than from non-evangelical voters in Alabama but had even support among both groups in Mississippi.

In Alabama, Santorum was the preferred choice of voters who say it matters a great deal to them that a candidate shares their religious beliefs. There was no clear winner among the group in Mississippi.

Romney and Santorum ran about even among non-evangelical voters in Alabama, with 34 percent supporting Romney and 31 percent supporting Santorum. Gingrich trailed both candidates with 21 percent of non-evangelical voters.

In Mississippi, non-evangelicals were divided between Romney at 33 percent and Santorum and Gingrich with 27 percent each.

The poll was conducted as voters left the polls during the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries and was conducted by Edison Media Research for the National Election Pool.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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