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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why Santorum Won Louisiana

A strongly conservative, religiously inspired Republican electorate turned the tables on Mitt Romney in Louisiana, supplying Rick Santorum with both an easy win and a sharp riposte to Romney’s victory in Illinois four days earlier.
Santorum was boosted by one of the highest concentrations of very conservative voters in any primary this year. Evangelicals, while less dominant than in most other Southern states, backed him by a record margin over Romney. And Santorum’s tally was his best to date among voters focused on supporting a candidate who shares their religious beliefs.
Even in this inhospitable environment, Romney again prevailed as most likely to defeat Barack Obama in November, by 43 to 33 percent vs. Santorum. But that was Santorum’s best score on this question in any of the nine contests to date in which it’s been asked. In previous races, voters picked Romney as more electable by a 32-point margin; in Illinois, by 38. In Louisiana, Santorum shaved that to 10. 
Though Romney has usually won the Catholic vote, Louisiana was different:  Santorum won this group 48-30 percent.
Religiously inspired voting more generally ran high in the state. Sixty-four percent of primary voters said they go to church at least weekly; they backed Santorum by 56-24 percent, while less-frequent (or non-) churchgoers much more narrowly favored Romney, 39-28 percent. More, 73 percent, said it mattered to them to support a candidate who shares their religious beliefs, and 41 percent said it mattered a great deal – more than said so in Illinois by 17 and 18 points, respectively.