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Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Santorum, Romney Supporters Divided on Religion's Role in Decisions, Abortion, Gay Marriage

  • (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)
    Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Rick Santorum listen to his address during his "Super Tuesday" primary election night rally in Steubenville, Ohio, March 6, 2012.
March 17, 2012|10:30 am

It may not surprise many political pundits that the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a majority of Rick Santorum supporters think elected officials should rely on their personal religious beliefs in making policy decisions. Supporters of Mitt Romney differ not only on the use of religious beliefs, but also on the legalization of abortion and gay marriage.

The poll, taken last week as part of a comprehensive survey of a variety of political views, found that 53 percent of Santorum supporters think political leaders should rely on religious beliefs when making policy decisions. Only 28 percent of Romney supporters feel the same way.

Santorum supporters, who are known to be more evangelical in their religious beliefs, feel strongly that candidates they support should share the same values, with 65 percent agreeing. Only 41 percent of Romney supporters prefer their candidates to share their religious beliefs.

Santorum, who is Catholic, is closely identified with evangelicals and has done well in states with a high concentration of conservative voters, such as those in the Bible-belt states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

For example, 83 percent of GOP primary voters in Mississippi identified themselves as evangelical Christians.

Yet when it comes to view of the hot-button issues of abortion and gay marriage, the differences are just as wide.

When asked if abortion should be illegal, 77 percent of Santorum reporters were in agreement, but only 47 percent of Romney supporters want to outlaw abortion.

Nationally, about 54 percent of adults believe abortion should be legal.

On the subject of legalizing gay marriage, 47 percent of Romney supporters favor the issue, but in sharp contrast, only 19 percent of Santorum supporters favor same-sex marriage.

Romney, whose Mormon beliefs has generated controversy throughout the campaign, tends to attract a more moderate group of supporters who are more comfortable discussing economic issues as opposed to social issues.

For this every reason, April's political calendar favors Romney while the month of May looks better for Santorum. Six of the eight primaries in April are in the Northeast, where Romney tends to do well.

But in the warmer months of May, the GOP primaries turn South again as North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas hold their elections. Like other southern states, each of these has a higher concentration of evangelical voters.

In the latest WPA poll in Texas, Santorum holds an eight-point lead over Romney. Other polls of Texas voters show Romney with a slim two-point lead.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/santorum-romney-supporters-divided-on-religions-role-in-decisions-abortion-gay-marriage-71606/