Those Iowan evangelicals

Who voted for Huckabee and why.
By Ted Olsen

The analysis you've probably read this morning or heard last night was that Mike Huckabee won the Republican caucuses in Iowa because of evangelicals. The WashingtonPost.com headline right now: "Evangelicals Fuel Huckabee in Caucuses." You probably also heard a lot of references to Pat Robertson's second-place Iowa win in 1988.

"Evangelical Republicans in Iowa chose one of their own in Mike Huckabee," writes Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press. "He made his religious beliefs and his rock-solid opposition to abortion, gay marriage and gun control central parts of his campaign — and it paid off."

The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib agrees. "So much for the idea that evangelical Christians are a dispirited and declining force in the Republican party," he writes. "Last night they showed up in force -- in stunning force, actually. ... In a very real sense, evangelical voters, as much as Mr. Huckabee, won Iowa's caucuses on the Republican side."

Andrew Sullivan is fairly predictable, with the headline, "The Christianists Triumph."

ABC News explains the headlines: "Evangelical Christians accounted for a remarkable six in 10 GOP caucus-goers, and they favored Huckabee, a Baptist minister, over Mitt Romney, who's Mormon, by a broad 46-19 percent. Among the remaining, non-evangelical Republican voters, by contrast, only about one in seven supported Huckabee, and Romney won easily, with 33 percent."

But 46 percent of the evangelical Republican vote means that most evangelicals did not vote for Huckabee, notes Frank Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Huckabee fan Rod Dreher of The Dallas Morning News notes on his Beliefnet blog that Huckabee "won just about every Republican demographic -- especially, please note, the middle-income voters and below. He was especially strong among younger voters. The only caucusgoers Romney dominated were the well-off ($100K+) secular urban moderates. If you think Huckabee's only a phenomenon of the religious right, explain those numbers, willya?"

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