Despite losses, Santorum still wins evangelicals

LANSING, Mich. (BP) -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum continued to do well among self-described evangelicals in the Michigan and Arizona primaries Tuesday, even though GOP rival Mitt Romney won the popular vote in each state.

Rick Santorum
Santorum won evangelical/born again voters by a margin of 51-33 percent over Romney in Michigan, with Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each claiming 7 percent, according to exit polls used by The New York Times and The Washington Post. Romney, though, won the popular vote there, 41-38 percent, marking the first time this year that a clear favorite among evangelicals in exit or entrance polling lost at the ballot.

In Arizona, Santorum and Romney finished in a virtual tie among evangelical/born again voters, with Santorum winning 37 percent and Romney 35 percent, according to the NYT/Washington Post exit polls. Gingrich won 20 percent and Paul 6 percent among evangelicals in Arizona. Romney won the popular vote there, 47 percent to Santorum's 27 percent.

Evangelical/born again voters made up 42 percent of GOP voters in each state.

The New York Times/Washington Post exit polling on evangelicals differs from some other media outlets because it includes evangelicals of all races, and not simply white evangelicals.

Despite the loss in Michigan, Santorum picked up at least 13 delegates in that state, according to a estimate, although he still trails Romney in the delegate count, 169-50, with Gingrich tallying 38 and Paul 27.

The GOP race now moves to Washington for caucuses Saturday, and then to 10 states March 6 for Super Tuesday. The states that will hold caucuses or primaries that day are Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

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