WASHINGTON Among Republican registered voters who are white Protestants and Catholics, presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani currently generates the most enthusiasm with at least 30 percent saying there is a "good chance" they would vote for him, according to a June survey.
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shed light on where Protestants stand at this stage of the presidential campaign by measuring name recognition and likelihood of support at the polls.
Former New York City Mayor Giuliani currently leads the GOP bunch both in the religious circles and the wider American public. According to the Pew survey, 95 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters have heard of Giuliani; 37 percent say there is a "good chance" they would vote for him; 39 percent say "some chance;" and 20 percent say "no chance."
Trailing Giuliani among Republican candidates is former Sen. Fred Thompson, even before his expected entrance into the 2008 White House race.
Thirty-seven percent of Republican voters indicate a "good chance" of supporting Thompson; 27 percent of white mainline Protestants and 20 percent of white evangelical Protestants say the same.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has 18 percent of the "good chance" vote from white mainline Protestants; 14 percent from white evangelical Protestants; and 15 percent from white, non-Hispanic Catholics. Overall, 24 percent of Republican registered voters say there is a "good chance" they will support him.
Sen. John McCain has 16 percent of the "good chance" vote from white evangelical Protestants and white mainline Protestants; 27 percent from white Catholics; and 20 percent from Republican voters overall.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, although one of the most visible GOP candidates along with McCain, generates little enthusiasm with 46 percent of Republican voters saying there is "no chance" they will support him. The same statistic stands among mainline Protestant, Republican voters and white, non-Hispanic Catholics. Thirty-three percent of white evangelical Protestants say the same.
Republican candidates have become much better known since February, the Pew survey also found., The percent of Republican voters who say they have heard of Romney went up from 46 percent to 72 percent. Also, 51 percent say they have heard of Thompson compared to 34 percent in February; 48 percent say they know former governor Mike Huckabee, up from 32 percent; and 40 percent say they have heard of Sen. Sam Brownback compared to 32 percent a few months ago.
While lesser-known Democratic candidates are not much more visible among Democratic voters than they were in February, top-tier candidates generate more somewhat more enthusiasm from party voters than do Republicans.
Leading the Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton has 44 percent of the "good chance" vote from Democratic voters, a dip from 52 percent in February; Sen. Barack Obama has 40 percent; Al Gore has 34 percent, up from 27 percent; and John Edwards has 24 percent.
The latest Gallup poll also reveals that Clinton, Obama and Edwards have a significant lead among registered voters when matched up with top-tier Republican candidates Giuliani, Romney and McCain.
Among white mainline Protestants, Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, 41 percent say there is a "good chance" they will support Clinton; 34 percent say the same for Gore; 29 percent for Obama; and 27 percent for Edwards.
The Pew survey was conducted May 30-June 3 among 1,503 adults.