Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop in Charlotte, N.C. (Church Burton / Associated…)
Even before he announced his support for same-sex marriage, President Obama was badly trailing Republican Mitt Romney among evangelical Christians, the group most committed to traditional forms of marriage, according to a new poll about the attitudes of religious voters.
Romney led Obama by 68% to 19% among evangelicals in the poll released Thursday by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service. The nationwide poll was conducted over four days ending Sunday, well before Obama's remarks about same-sex marriage. (And no questions were asked on that topic.)
The good news for the Obama campaign is that Romney doesn't have as much support yet among evangelicals as Republican John McCain did in the 2008 election, when exit polls showed that he had captured 73% of the evangelical vote. George W. Bush did even better in 2004, when he claimed 79% of evangelicals.
But the poll does suggest erosion for Obama, who received 26% of the evangelical vote in 2008.
Other interesting tidbits:
- Despite his tussles over the contraception mandate in the new healthcare program, Obama still has a lead among Catholic voters, 46% to 39%, according to the poll. He also leads among mainline Protestant voters and those with no religious affiliation.
- Only about half of the voters responding to the survey could identify Romney as a Mormon. The percentage has barely moved since October 2011, when 49% were aware of his faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the latest poll, the number stood at 51%. That may be fine with Romney, who almost never mentions his religious affiliation.
The poll was conducted by phone with 1,006 adults. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Original source: Poll: Romney behind Bush, McCain in evangelical support