Iowan evangelicals

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Kudos to the latest Des Moines Register Iowa Poll for asking respondents the Born Again/Evangelical question. Not so much for failing to put up charts with cross tabs. Still, the paper has provided enough in the way of information to determine how evangelicals are breaking in their preferences for the Republican caucuses two months hence.

The main news is not surprising, but nonetheless important. With evangelicals, all candidates except Mitt Romney do as well as or better than they do with the GOP electorate as a whole. Romney, however, does much worse: 22 percent overall but with only nine percent of evangelicals. Thus, while he is statistically tied with Herman Cain overall (22 percent versus 23 percent), he trails Cain (26 percent) by a nearly 3-to-1 margin among evangelicals.

That number should be put together with the finding that among those who “definitely” planning to attend the caucuses, Cain leads Romney 27 percent to 10 percent. If we know anything about Iowa at caucus time, it’s that evangelicals are the ones that turn out most dependably. Just ask Pat Robertson and Mike Huckabee. So even though Iowa’s evangelicals are far from coalesced around a single candidate, Romney’s prospects in the Hawkeye State do not look good.